Africans watch more than 40 hours of television and film per month across multiple screens, according to the latest report covering the whole of 2016.Watching TV online has become mainstream, with 11.2 million Africans looking at professionally produced video online in the last twelve months, according to a new research report. Viewing to the traditional TV set remains strong and the report shows an increasingly connected audience whose steady embrace of new technologies creates additional flexibility to view. However, that hasn’t stopped millions of Africans from downloading illegal films online.Film piracy among teenagers in Africa has almost doubled in the past year, with movie bosses saying illegal downloads are threatening the future of film industries in Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa.The report notes that Africans had taken to piracy at a far greater rate than initially thought. One of the report authors told your blogger that if Africa cannot solve the piracy problem there will be no African films in the next decade. According to the report, ninety-four per cent of people in Africa acknowledge that piracy is theft. There has been some decline in piracy amongst African adults in the last year and part of this is due to new streaming services such as Showmaxx and Netflix which demonstrates that when product is legally available, this is a critical factor.However, before Africans get too comfortable by this decline in total piracy, the emphasis on movies is worse and illegal online activity of teenage Africans has almost doubled since 2015 with a whopping 58 per cent pirating movies. For example there has been several movies from Nigeria illegally downloaded 2 million times in Nigeria alone and one the affected movies producer said piracy was a plague in Lagos and Abuja. The trend is the same in other countries and even if you make a great movie that has emotional resonance with an audience, people steal it and they don’t go to the cinema.
Report authors warned there were two other aspects to piracy that were often little known.One of them, people are sending their kids to very dangerous online neighbourhoods where the pirates are not good guys.These aren’t roguish, street-dwelling computer savvy but they are the same type of people that sell marijuana, cocaine and heroin. In South Africa. it’s been proven, they often have connections to organised, international crime syndicates. African pirates were also only about the millions and they made tens of millions of dollars in 2016 through advertising that included hard core pornography, online gambling, party drugs, weight loss and banking scams.After reading the report, I feel there’s need to include legislation to block illegal sites, forging a better relationship with online media companies like Yahoo, Google and Bing, making more content legally available, pursuing legal action against serial offenders, and fostering community support.In my view, several steps should be proposed to have different approach to legal penalties.Some countries are planning to pursue legal rights to protect copyright by suing repeat infringers and not for hefty ransom. If the price of an act of online thievery is set at say $2,000, experts believe most people will think twice.It is also more important to change people’s attitudes to piracy and its final step was winning over strong community support against movie piracy.In the report, authors repeatedly come across people who have not been told that piracy is wrong and is theft, and assume from continued practice, that it is socially and legally acceptable, and that it does no harm or that their individual activity won’t make any difference.People wouldn’t go into a Cape Town’s Shoprite Supermarket and swipe a Cadbury milk bar. Africans are fundamentally honest and fundamentally decent.In conclusion, the report authors proposes that revenue from the proposed legal penalties should be devoted to positive education on piracy.