They're Your Pirates, You're Responsible

03 December 2008

We are all aware that intellectual property issues are global issues, but do we realize on how many levels this is true?  Sometimes they go beyond clashes in countries' policies and down to a very basic level of individuals' actions.

It's no secret that many of Nigeria's counterfeit-producing optical disc plants are owned by Chinese.  What is surprising, at least to this Ipper, is that Nigerians seem to be blaming China for this fact.  Indirectly, the presence of Chinese-owned optical disc plants in Nigeria is China's fault.  The plants have relocated due to increased copyright enforcement in Asia.  But, there is likely no Chinese policy that says those wishing to create pirated discs should go to Nigeria, and depending on where the companies incorporated, the Chinese government may have little to no control over them.  Yet, in his opinion piece for The Daily Sun, Tunde Thompson lumps Chinese-owned optical disc plants together with a string of failed Chinese government sponsored projects. 

IP is very important in Nigeria; some sources claim over 60% of the population get their income from creative industries.  Piracy is certainly a hot-button issue.  It seems the actions of a few Chinese citizens in Nigeria could damage relations between the two countries.  What can China do about it?  How far should one country stick its neck out to protect the intellectual property laws of another country?  And where do the pirates go next if Nigeria manages to crack down on them?


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