Lagos - A veteran actor, Ken Odurukwe, on Friday urged the three tiers of government to tackle piracy, so that practitioners in the Motion Picture Industry (MPI) could enjoy the fruits of their labour.
"The MPI is not paying us because of piracy by those who steal our intellectual properties, and that is why we are impoverished," Odurukwe said.
He said in Lagos that people who did not know what artistes suffered from to create their works of art were stealing their intellectual properties.
"It is surprising that the three tiers of government are not discussing how they can help the sector scale up their activities and tackle piracy.
"When governments begin to discuss with stakeholders in the sector on how intellectual properties can be protected, then the money we make from it can pay our bills comfortably.
"We will also generate more employment opportunities for the youth because there are many areas they will be relevant in the sector," the veteran actor said.
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Odurukwe said that the entertainment industry had been giving the country a good image, but that various governments were not really encouraging it.
"That is why I said that the Federal Government and the National Assembly (NASS) should look seriously into how the sector can be made viable and attractive for all to enjoy from.
"Unfortunately, they are not discussing the industry in the NASS, they are not even looking at us and they are talking about employment.
"When the pirates are jailed three years with hard labour, things will improve.
"Even those who rent videos make more money than those who have the works, this is very bad.
"We keep on living like beggars while we are supposed to be making good money from our venture," he said .
Odurukwe urged the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to clamp down on pirates so as to curb their activities.
"The government must promulgate laws against piracy and enforce them to sanitise the industry."
He, however, said that it was not easy for people to bring out money to produce films, only for some to hijack the dividends coming from such investments.