On October 21st, a friend narrated how he was faced with a Nigerian blogger who lifted a whole album from his website and blogged it as his blogger’s own work. The photos in question was of a Yoruba town showing houses and people as they go on their daily activities, impressive. With no thoughts to the hard work that the other person had put into it, it was stolen just as they would neighbourhood goats with no slight thoughts to the owners’ feelings.
The rightful owner of this album sent copyright infringement notice via internet police. Plagiarism in Nigeria is another problem that we shamefully think “it’s no biggie” It is everywhere hence many of our older artists today lived on handouts because their work get pirated from the minute it gets to the market. Pirate is a big business in Nigeria so much so that they profited much more than the brains behind the work.
This is all due to no respect for intellectual property rights.
I took a minute to check on the blogger-thief website, he was viewed by internet users and shamefully accepting compliments for the work he didn’t do. By the third day, internet police on Content Thieves have done their job – photo album taken down. That was quick! Hopefully lesson learned.
Earlier on this month was a Nigerian blogger, a popular one at that – Linda Ikeji and her plagiarism saga.
It is not easy being a woman and rising beyond the glass ceiling in Nigeria so I naturally applauded Linda for the hard work and courage the first time I heard of her work.
So when Linda’s blog was shut down due to a intellectual copyright violation by Google on October 8th – I was elated and NOT in the least because it was Linda but mainly because since we refused to acknowledge the rights of artists to their content in Nigeria, like everything else, it is about time someone outside shows us how it’s done.
We are passionate people in Nigeria but for the most part, very confused. Linda is ours, a hard-working, high-flying young woman – should we call it what it is that her attitude on that occasion was the same as a neighbourhood goat thief – who by the way if caught in Nigeria would receive jungle justice OR should we empathetically say that in this occasion we need to stand by Linda and throw abuses at Google for being jealous that we have our very own successful young woman.
The few hours after Linda’s site was shut down, the above was the state of Nigeria social media commentators’ division so much so that attention was taking away from the offence to attacking fellow Nigerians for being jealous of Linda’s success.
This is how Nigeria is in all aspects. Never, do we collectively condemn bad attitude even when it’s flashed in our faces and yet we wondered why our university graduate projects were copycats.
This is one of the tweets exchange in support of plagiarism culture: “… they’ve all been beefing her success, she will b back” While I can see the loyalty, I think this young man missed the points entirely. Attitude towards intellectual property theft in Nigeria must change to encourage more creative people to step out of their hiding places without having to worry about their work being stolen from them.
Linda is in a perfect position to lead as youths listen to her.
My hope is that now that Linda’s website is restored – slap on the wrist, a little public embarrassment, well it could be worse – Linda would turn this whole episode around to be the beginning of a bigger project to tackle thieves that preyed on our brains.