The Concept of Piracy in the Film Industry in Nigeria: Taking a Cue from Other Countries


  • Nkem Itanyi Queen’s University, Belfast


The film industry in Nigeria, popularly referred to as Nollywood, is the world’s third-largest film industry (based on the volume of films produced); however, this does not translate to real economic benefit. It is a highly informal industry created in an informal sector of the economy and addressed to a mass audience with different characteristics from those in the Anglo-American/Anglo-European field. This article argues that piracy is economically harmful to Nollywood. To substantiate this claim, we engage with the body of literature on piracy to understand what piracy is and how it works. The jurisprudence on the concept of piracy is discussed, first at a general level, before specifically discussing the case of Nigeria. An attempt will be made to measure piracy as a statistical phenomenon, comparing several excellent studies carried out in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere in the world. The trends and lessons learned from these studies were critically considered in the Nigerian context. The impact of piracy was examined, identifying the different models that have successfully tackled piracy. We evaluate how piracy is tackled at the different levels of the Nigerian film industry, pointing out the distinction between legal rule and enforcement thereof and stressing how ignorance of copyright law, coupled with the specific cultural context of Nigeria, exacerbates the problem of piracy. Finally, workable solutions that could aid in curbing piracy in Nigeria were discussed. We conclude by advocating for an essential change of the mindset of the people, which can be achieved through aggressive educational campaigns.






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