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Court sentenced a Bookseller to one year imprisonment for pirating Holy Bible, others

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The Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has sentenced a trader, Mr Chinonso Ugochukwu, to one year imprisonment for pirating the Holy Bible and other books.

Ugochukwu was found guilty on a two-count charge, bordering on pirating, being in possession and offering for sale, 578 copies of various literary works including the revised standard version of the Holy Bible.

A witness, Martins Umoh, a staff of the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC) told the court presided over by Justice F.O. Riman the commission received complaints from copyright owners including the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) alleging that their literary works were being pirated. As a result, they embarked on search in several local government areas of the state, adding it was during the search that several copies of pirated literary works were found in Ugochukwu’s shop located at No 17 Grace Bill Road, Eket, Akwa Ibom State.

Giving his testimony, a BSN staff, Oluwafemi Akindele, told the court his office translates the Holy Bible, typesets it and sources for funds to publish it, saying they observed that while the products were everywhere in the market, it never reflected in its official Bible distribution figures, adding they lodged a formal complaint to NCC when they observed most of the products in the market were pirated copies which led to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of Ugochukwu.

The offence Contravened Section 20 (2) (C) of the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria which attracts one year imprisonment. The judge also gave the convict an option of N30,000 fine and to compulsorily forfeit the recovered materials to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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