This paper crystallizes the Nigerian Copyright Act position through the statement of the loopholes that demerits and diminishes the standard of the act vis–a–vis the standard of the digital age. Ab initio, this paper expressly stated the definition of copyright which was not given a statutory definition in the Nigerian copyright act. It further meticulously x-rayed the historical evolution of the action beginning from the colonial era to the post-colonial era. The paper likewise examined the effect of digital technology in the copyright field and expressly brought out the trait statistics that Nigeria is ranked as one of the countries in which the rate of piracy is beyond average. Also, the paper stretched eye to other factors that devalued the said copyright legislation. Towards the dusk of the paper, practical solutions were suggested to the existing problems of the copyright legislation; these solutions would enable the legislation to meet the needs of the digital age. The paper closed with a comprehensive conclusion.
Nigeria | Copyright | Digital technology | Legislation
The heritage of a nation is expressed via the creativity of its citizens. Therefore, one of the primary functions of the law is to protect the ingenuity and innovation of the citizenry. Hence, the dictum of Belgore J. in Oladipo Yemitan v. The Daily Times Nigeria Ltd is very apt when he said that: ‘’The right of a man to that which he had originally made is an incorporeal right and must be protected’’. The impact of the copyright act in Nigeria has been duly appreciated by the right-holders due to the right and protection given to their works. However, the advent of digital technology has raised fears and doubts in the right-holders heart due to the lack of assistance from the present copyright act.
As a prolegomenon to this discourse and the emphasis for an act that meets the need of society in respect to intellectual property in the 21st–century cosmos, this writer, a student of law who is exceedingly resolute and unapologetically firm in providing a way to fortify the Nigerian Copyright Act to suit this present time, postulated that signing the 2015 copyright bill, domesticating relevant International treaties, upward review of the fine, adequate administrative measures, and prosecuting online pirates are the most practical ways to meet the need of the digital age.
2.0 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW IN NIGERIA
In Nigeria, several laws have a bearing on the protection and administration of the different rights that make up intellectual property (IP). However, one of the three principal statutes governing the intellectual property Law field in Nigeria is the Nigerian Copyright Act. It is assuming importance in every facet of life today, beyond its original position, as a result of new developments in modern science and technology as well as challenges arising from the competitive nature of international trade.
2.1 COPYRIGHT LEGISLATION
The extant law on the protection of copyrighted works in Nigeria is the Nigerian Copyright Act. This Copyright Act doesn’t proffer a definition for copyright, but it is safe to state that it is legal protection granted to creators of creative (whether Literary, Musical, Artistic, or Cinematographic)expressions/works or an adaptation of any of these eligible works. It confers an exclusive and assignable right to the originator of the work, to control the exploitation of his work for a limited period.
Historically, Nigeria’s copyright law was first governed by the English Copyright Act 1911 which was made applicable to Nigeria under an order-in-council under Section 25 of the Act of 1911 of Great Britain till the emergence of the first indigenous Nigeria Copyright Act in 1970. However, the 1970 Act was inadequate due to its inability to combat the increasing rate of piracy and other copyright infringements, coupled with the need to increase the penal sanctions and provide adequate remedial measures. Thereupon the birth of the 1988 Act.
The 1988 copyright Act was marred with a series of amendments within few years of its emergence. It witnessed its first amendment in 1992 and secondly after seven years in 1999, till the current copyright Act known as the Nigeria Copyright Act Cap C28 (LFN) 2004. In 2012,… Click this link to continue reading in the March 2021 Edition.