I do not remember subscribing to the mailing list of Transparency For Nigeria, a website that claims to promote transparency, integrity and accountability in Nigeria. But I received an e-newsletter from them today. No biggie; there was an option to unsubscribe should I want to. Anyway, one of the articles that caught my interest was that on the MINT countries. I clicked the link, and reading it, it was clear to me that it was lifted from somewhere, so I ran a quick Google search. As I suspected, it was lifted word for word from the BBC website.
I have been an advocate of the respect for intellectual property, so I decided to email a response to the newsletter. Here it is below.
Dear Transparency Nigeria Editorial Team,
Your article, Nigeria Among The Next Economic Giants – The MINT countries (http://transparencyng.com/index.php/news-categories/106-opinionsinterviews/8681-nigeria-among-the-next-economic-giants-the-mint-countries), is a complete lift off the BBC news site (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25548060). This is in contravention of copyright and intellectual property rights and ethics.
In your catch phrase, you claim to be “promoting transparency, integrity and accountability in Nigeria”. It is ironic that your practices as a publisher do not reflect these.
You need to do better than this. I will be delighted to see you adopt standard publishing principles and ethics where you use the works of others in appropriate ways. This will require your entire content production and editorial teams getting educated about intellectual property rights and practices, and adopting them.
I look forward to seeing you step up and do right.
Footnote: Interesting enough, my Google search threw up three other Nigerian sites/blogs that violated intellectual property rights on same BBC article. Sigh. Here is a good start for those who want to understand the issues: Don’t copy wrong! Writers own the exclusive rights to their works.
We can do better.