Director for Creative Arts at the National Commission on Culture (NCC), Socrate Safo has posited that funds earmarked towards public education on piracy of creative works should rather be used to prosecute such offenders.
According to him the education against piracy has gone on for long with pirates fully aware their actions are illegal. “We now need to spend time arresting them.”
Speaking in an interview on Happy98.9FM’s Showbiz Xtra show with Doctar Cann to celebrate World Intellectual Property day, he said, “I’ll not support any fund or budget to educate people on piracy. We know and need to do the right thing. These pirates are aware their acts are against the law. If they’re arrested, acts of piracy will reduce and that is the only way they’ll learn”.
He reiterated money spent on piracy education can be channelled to something else. “We spend money on undertaking piracy campaigns when every pirate knows he is pirating. So you don’t spend time on education but rather let’s spend time in arresting them.
The pirates in Ghana know they’re wrong but we always fold our arms to educate them”, he lamented.
Since the 1990s, representatives of the global media industry have been lobbying politicians and law enforcement, locally and globally, to strike down on rampant piracy of movies, music and videogames. Whether the target is kids browsing torrent sites in the basements of Europe and North America or CD vendors at street markets in Asia and Africa, the war on piracy has been relentless.
In March 2012, an Accra Metropolitan Police action by the name Operation Jail The Pirates led to the arrest of 19 people during a raid of alleged music pirates at Kwame Nkrumah Circle.
In court, five of them were sentenced under the Ghanaian 2005 Copyright act to hefty fines. Due to lack of funds, the court defaulted on the fines and transformed their sentence into 2-year prison sentences.
Till now, the fight against piracy has been ongoing with a more focused approach on education which industry players feel is not enough.