Piracy Needs to be Curbed

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Piracy as ‘enemy number two’ after HIV/AIDS, is killing creativity that can otherwise bring about economic growth and sustainable development in African countries. This is the view of the minister of Broadcasting and Information, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who this week officially opened a four-day UNESCO anti-piracy training workshop at a lodge outside the capital. Representatives from several African countries are attending the workshop that aims at training law enforcement officials from the SADC region in the fight against piracy of intellectual property. “For a very long time now in many African countries and elsewhere in the world, intellectual property has been regarded as an exceptional subject for a specific class of people in our societies. ” However, the fact of the matter is that the protection of intellectual property rights has a positive impact towards everybody. The works of authors, artists, composers and producers are inevitably part of our daily lives and need to be protected throughout the world,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said. According to her, legislation that deals with the protection of intellectual property works is crucial for economic growth and development. “We must therefore make use of the available resources to ensure an effective and efficient enforcement of these legislations. In today’s world in which intellectual property works play a very important role in our daily lives, creators of these works must be protected by all means. This would not only bring about well-deserved wealth, but it would also encourage and motivate artists to be more creative, thus making life much better and worthwhile,” she said. Nandi-Ndaitwah urged participants to condemn those involved in what she termed ‘evil and destructive’ piracy activities in their respective countries. “Namibian law enforcement agencies are hard at work fighting piracy in all its forms. On numerous occasions officials from law enforcement agencies conduct very successful raids in business areas suspected of harbouring pirated materials,” she said with reference to the recently confiscated pirate material to the tune of N$2,5 million from some business communities in the capital. She advised that concerted efforts should be launched to educate and train the peoples in the SADC to respect and appreciate intellectual property creations and to vigorously fight piracy in all its ugly appearances. The minister also launched the newly-formed Namibia Reproduction Rights Organization (NAMRRO). The board of directors include: Ellen Namilah, Pieter Reinard, John Max, Shimi ya Shimi, Tarah Shinavene and Moses Moses.