Piracy and the Nigerian Movie industry: My Solution.

Some months ago I had the pleasure of watching Kunle Afolayan’s October 1st and couldn’t help thinking that it was the best made Nigerian movie I had ever had the pleasure of watching, everything was so on-point from location, casting, lighting, editing and sound; this was indeed a well made movie, as the man once called the African Scorsese had put a lot of thought into making it and had paid attention to every detail. And I mean every detail, at the bar scene you notice that the bottle of stout the prince was drinking was from that time period, in all my years I had never seen such dedication to detail, because even the minutest of prop was from the time period the movie was setting in, even hair cuts!

October-1

The movie cost a whooping N 330 million (2 million dollars); some doubt the authenticity of that figure but my point is I expected this movie to eclipse what AY’s 30 days in Atlanta made in the cinema. Admittedly the script was weak, the story over flogged, but the actors made it worth your while. I particularly loved the actor Kayode Aderupoko who played Afonja, he was a delight to watch and so was the veteran Sadiq Daba, Demola Adedoyin and Kayode Bankole. 30 days in Atlanta made 137, 200, 000 naira in the cinema and I expected this movie to do much better.

But unfortunately this was not to be as weeks after its release in the Nigerian cinemas, October 1st , the movie was already being peddled by vendors on the highway!! Leading the revered director and film producer to go on a ranting spree on the Igbos. Piracy has done more harm to our movie industry, than the poor acting and execution of movies have and it is not news that a bulk of the pirates in Alaba are Igbo; my countrymen but what is news is that years on the Film Guild of Nigeria has not yet found a way of dealing with this debilitating illness unlike its music industry counterpart who has succeeded in limiting the impact of pirates on the industry by partnering, somewhat with them.

Before I delve into how I think Nollywood should tackle piracy, I would like to ask Mr. Kunle a question, with all due respect sir, yes a bulk of the pirates are Igbo men and women but have you stopped to ask yourself how they got a hold of your amazing movie? I watched the credit of your movie, a bulk of your crew were your kinsmen, so how is it possible that the Igbo pirates came in possession of your movie? Look at the channels of production from editing, packaging and distribution, there is a hole there that allowed that leakage. Somebody made millions selling that movie to the pirates who are in it for the money and not sentimentality. He should look inwards for the one to rant about.

Why can’t major studios partner with these pirates or if they want to push their luck set up distribution outfit in the infamous Alaba market? They must have unions and rules there like “honour amongst thieves”, that protects a members proprietary rights over a movie! That way you get to distribute and manage every channel of distribution and any infringement by any other body will be dealt with by the Alaba association.

Secondly, why not watermark movies that are to be sent for award consideration, with not just the “This movie is for award consideration only” sign only but must include the body the said footage/video is meant for, that way you know where the leakage is. It should also apply to cinemas too, each bearing a watermark of the cinema outfit. A movie meant for the Silverbird cinema would bear the Silverbird watermark.

Thirdly all holes should be plugged during  pre-production, production and post-production, access to the movie should be limited and it must be made impossible for anyone to download these movies on flash drives.

I don’t know why they haven’t taken a bulldozer down to Alaba and let it go crazy

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