Query: Can the public report piracy to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) or to the Namibia Police? And is there a specific crime related to piracy?
Response: The rights granted by the Berne Convention and national copyright laws enable law enforcement bodies to take criminal action against those who copy and distribute others’ copyrighted work without the permission of the companies or individuals that invested in producing it. Such rights also allow recording and film producers to take civil actions to recover compensation for damages suffered as a result of movies and music piracy.
Piracy is, therefore, a criminal activity that must be reported to the police. The police should conduct the investigation in the same way in which they normally investigate, and such investigations must be independently managed and directed by the police.
The copyright office together with Nascam provides continuous annual copyright and related rights training workshops for law enforcement officials, including police, custom officials and judiciary to capacitate them, first of all, to be able to identify genuine/authentic intellectual property (IP) goods from pirated goods and to help them understand the intricacies of copyright in the real world, and better understand the intricacies of the copyright field when investigating and prosecuting piracy cases. This training has on several occasions resulted in police raids on businesses that were involved in piracy activities and pirated goods were confiscated and destroyed.
As a copyright holder, you can play a critical role in fighting piracy. Growth in new distribution routes and marketplaces like the internet also make intellectual property crime more attractive to organized criminal syndicates. They see intellectual property crime as low risk and high yield. You can help halt the spread of these crimes by reporting copyright violations to the Namibian Police.
• Media Liaison Services, Print Media Affairs, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Tel: 061 283 9111