The Nigerian Copyright Commission is considering issuing a warrant for the arrest of managing directors of Macmillan and Melrose Publishers Limited over copyright infringement.
The NCC had invited the duo following a petition against them by Elias Ozikpu, writer of ‘Heroes of the Night’.
They, however, failed to honour the investigation, an act that has led the NCC to consider ordering the police to arrest them.
Ozikpu’s lawyer, Mr Rockson Igelige, confirmed to SaharaReporters that the NCC had invited the duo twice but they have continued to ignore the invitation.
“The Managing Directors of Melrose and Macmillan were billed to appear at the NCC headquarters on July 29, but refrained from doing so and only sent representatives.
“The NCC rejected their representatives on the grounds that the directors could not make statements in a representative capacity,” Igelige added.
SaharaReporters had reported how the playwright in a petition addressed to the Director-General of the NCC, informed the commission that Melrose Books and Publishing Ltd had since 2012 partnered with Macmillan and the Universal Basic Education Commission to publish and distribute his client’s work to schools nationwide without the prior knowledge and authorisation of his client.
In the said petition, he asked the Nigerian Copyright Commission to invoke its investigative and prosecutorial powers under the Nigerian Copyright Act to protect his client’s copyright by sanctioning all three parties having jointly and severally profited from the unauthorised and continuing publication, distribution and offer sale to the general public of his client’s work.
The author is also pursuing the infringement on his work ‘Heroes of the Night’ in a civil action filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos Division in suit number: FHC/L/CS/173/2018.
In an amended statement of claim filed and served on all three parties, Ozikpu is asking the court to award jointly or severally the sum of N400,000,000 as general damages and the sum of N800,000,000 as aggravated and punitive damages for the unlawful and flagrant infringement on his copyright.
The author is equally asking the court to grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining Melrose, Macmillan and Universal Basic Education Commission, their agents, privies, successors-in-title or assigns from further selling, distributing or offering for a fee his dramatic work: ‘Heroes of the Night’.