3 witnesses testify against student in piracy case

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ENUGU – Three witnesses on Wednesday testified against a second-year student of the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu who is facing a charge of piracy in the Federal High Court.

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The student, Chikaodili Chikelu, is facing a one-count charge of illegally distributing television signals belonging to DSTV in Enugu.

The complainants in the case, the Nigeria Copyright Commission, brought the witnesses to nail Chikelu when the matter came up for continuation of hearing at the court’s sitting in Enugu.

The three witnesses were staff of DSTV who testified that Chikelu’s action was an infringement of the exclusive right granted to DSTV in Nigeria to transmit the European Champions League, the English Premier League, and others.

The witnesses said the accused operated a viewing centre and that they were led in evidence by the prosecutor to visit the centre.

The commission’s lawyer, Mr. Paul Anagonye, told the court that the accused violated the Piracy Act by operating a viewing centre in Ogui area of Enugu.

Anagonye explained that copyright inspectors on surveillance in the area noticed that the accused was showing some football matches from the English Premier League and others in a commercial way without the commission’s license or approval.

He also said that on Nov. 2, 2012 when officials of the commission raided his Onyiuke Street address, he was absent.

“My Lord, in his absence, the officials of the commission arrested his mother and took her to the office where she made a voluntary statement.

“On Nov. 27, 2012, the accused came with the parent to the office and made a statement which he signed and after his statement he was accompanied to his house by one copyright inspector to bring the items he was using for the piracy.

“After sometime, he came back to the office with the inspector and the items used for the piracy which included Communication Trends Limited (CTL) decoders and metro digital decoder with their smart cards,” Anagonye said.

The counsel to the accused, Mr Boniface Aneke, told the court that the DSTV had no exclusive right to air those matches in Nigeria.

Aneke said that if DSTV had such exclusive right, it should prosecute outfits like CTL, MITV and the maker of the stronger decoders used by the piracies to attract signals.

Justice Dorothy Agishi adjourned the case to Oct. 23 for continuation of hearing. (NAN)

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