He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that piracy has become a major threat to the film industry.
“Our marketing company recorded a loss of about N450 million to piracy in the first quarter of this year.
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“Many of our new movies that are yet to be released into the market have already been pirated.
“This illegality is retarding the growth of the industry, especially for marketers who are distributing the films,’’ Okoye said.
Okoye, who said his company had been distributing popular films, lamented that the business was being negatively affected by the activities of pirates.
He listed the movie producers, who had lost huge sums to piracy, to include Kunle Afolayan whose “Phone swap’’ lost N100 million while Ali Balogun’s “Tango with Me’’ lost N150 million.
Others are Yewande Sadiku, who produced “Half of a Yellow Sun,’’ and lost N150 million while Obi Emelonye, who produced “Onye Ozi’’ lost N50 million.
According to him, the movies were supposed to be distributed by his company but were hijacked by pirates even before they were released.
“All these movie producers, on aggregate, lost about N450 million.
“I do not know how the pirates get copies of the movies and mass produced them for sale.
“After several investigations, we suspected that it was at Alaba International Market in Lagos that films were being pirated.
“We are investigating, with the assistance of the Nigerian Police, to get to the bottom of the matter,’’ Okoye said.
He, however, appealed to Nigerians to stop buying pirated movies.
According to him, the original copy of any movie can be obtained at designated distribution centres across the country.
“We have offices in 26 states and we are still expanding to cover all the 36 states.
“Such expansion is to make it convenient and comfortable for Nigerians to get original movies everywhere in the country,’’ he said.
He appealed to the Federal Government to strengthen copyright laws with a view to curbing piracy in the country.
Okoye also said the government should provide the necessary capacity to enable the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) fight piracy effectively. (NAN)