Piracy – a problem that we here in the USA frequently lament, as one of a number of ills harming black cinema in this country, is also very much a problem in one of the other largest film industries in the world, Nigeria’s Nollywood.
In the first video presentation below, Nollywood director, Lancelot Imasuen (the focus of the feature doc Nollywood Babylon, which I reviewed HERE) talks about piracy of Nollywood movies locally and overseas, during a panel discussion on the Emergence of African Movies at the African Economic Forum organized by Columbia University.
In the second, longer video, in an episode of The Stream via Al Jazeera, panelists including Nollywood actress and producer Stephanie Okereke, and filmmaker and Actor, Kunle Afolayan (names who’ve gotten some virtual ink on this blog) talk about the booming Nigerian film industry; Specifically, they tackle the piracy issue, which dominates the 30-minute conversation.
And finally, as a companion piece, I recommend reading THIS lengthy article written by Jide Rotilu for CP-Africa, which addresses this problem head-on, and offers solutions.
Here’s a snip:
Poor distribution channels and piracy are still the bane of the industry. Poor distribution only leads to an avenue for piracy to thrive faster. In this new age of Nollywood ‘Nollywood 2.0’, piracy has left the realm of an individual hawking the CD copies and dodging from officials and has spread fast into the digital space […] As more Nigerian movies are prominent in the spotlight and are in high demand, torrents (the deadliest form of piracy distribution) would be in full effect. Hollywood and the likes are presently facing massive loss of revenue due to torrent sites. The amount of money Nigeria loses from piracy overseas monthly if investigated would be way more than that lost annually from the domestic market. Pirates overseas are feeding off easily on sales of Nigerian Movies they are not licensed to sell which gives rise to the ‘International Pirate’.
Lancelot, in the video below, does also focus heavily on the “international pirate.” In fact, domestic piracy, as he seems to suggest, could actually be a good thing, in helping to build awareness for his work; however, when it comes to international piracy, he has little to no control, since these films are often replicated and sold on disks, which would be tougher to track.
The panel with Okereke and Afolayan also focus on the international issue. And there’s conversation about quality of the content being able to compete on the international film stage – one of the criticisms of Nollywood movies, which has been addressed many times on this blog.
Watch both clips below, and then read Jide Rotilu’s piece as well (HERE) for a fuller picture.