Copyright In Nigeria
In Nigeria, when the British carted away our creative works before Nigeria’s independence, it may have seemed that our creativity had been stolen. The reality is that creativity is deeply rooted in the people and their culture and it will take more than carting away a few items to steal one’s national creativity. Although, creativity cannot be stolen, the works of a creative, however, can be stolen. These creative works involve the fusion of time, energy, resources and passion to develop. To protect these creative works, the legislature had to enact laws that will regulate and protect the works of human intellect.
This led to the passing into law of the 1970 Copyright Act. It is to be noted that in the opinion of many Nigerian copyright owners, this enactment did not provide adequate protection. Therefore, it culminated in the enactment of the current 1988 copyright Act, which has been amended twice to reflect the changing and dynamic nature of copyright.
The Nigerian Copyright Commission was inaugurated on 19 August, 1989. The commission is responsible for all copyright matters in Nigeria including the administration, regulation, enforcement, and prosecution under the Copyright Act. Through the several regulations that have been issued by the commission and the different strategies adopted, the Nigerian Copyright Commission has tremendously aided in the administration of copyright in Nigeria. It is hoped that the heightened convictions on copyright infringement will continue to serve as deterrence to perpetrators of copyright infringements.
Importantly, the future of copyright for Nigeria will, however, lie in the ability of Nigeria to strategically engage with the international community in domesticating legal instruments, and negotiating issues of interest for the development of Nigeria’s creative industries.
Modern nations now rely more on their intellectual property resources as key to the realization of their national desire. Indeed, for any nation to progress economically, it must not downplay the development of its intellectual resources. The only way to ensure the protection of original intellectual works is by tightening provisions for the safeguard of copyright products, and accommodating products derived from the rapidly growing technology in the world.
Copyright piracy has been recognized globally as constituting a serious threat to creative arts and creativity generally. The damaging effect of piracy is visible all around us; the warning zeal for creativity; the dearth of well-researched textbooks and reading materials in the education sector; the diminishing of the artistic and literal quality of our stage performance and the increasing colorless and uninspiring products in the visual arts. Expectedly, investors are wary and the younger generation is no longer encouraged to pursue careers in the arts and entertainment industry. We are all confronted by an attack on our culture and future as a people. We are faced with the reality of a decline in economic resources as a nation. It is in recognition of the importance of creative arts, intellectualism, and the negative and damaging effect of piracy that the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) seeks to fight piracy to a halt. Considering the challenges still being witnessed in the industry, a lot still needs to be done in that regard.