By Vincent Oyefeso
Mr John Asien, DG, NCC
As the Federal regulatory and enforcement agency charged with all copyright matters under the Copyright Act, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), this year, commemorates its 30th Anniversary. The three-month celebration, flagged off on 19 August, 2019 has as its theme: “Changing the Copyright Narrative for Wealth Creation”.
Inaugurated as the Nigerian Copyright Council on 19 August 1989, it was upgraded to the status of a Commission in 1996. However, the mandate of the Commission has since been enlarged over the years to include the promotion, regulation, protection, and enforcement of copyright in Nigeria.
All over the world, intellectual property, including copyright, is increasingly playing a prominent role in national development and most nations in today’s knowledge-driven economy are leveraging on the development potentials of their copyright industries.
In the last three decades, the creative industries in Nigeria have grown exponentially and the Commission has also introduced various initiatives aimed at building a copyright system that would support them and guarantee return on their investment to ensure they contribute maximally to national development.
While acknowledging that a lot still needs to be done to fully integrate the copyright system into the nation’s development plan, there is much about the creative industries in Nigeria to celebrate.
The essence of the Commission’s 30th Anniversary, therefore, goes beyond the Commission. It is an opportunity to draw attention to the strength, resilience and indefatigable spirit of the Nigerian creative sector. We are not only talented as a people; we are also a nation that is endowed with immense human resource
The Nigerian creative industry is currently estimated to contribute about ten per cent (10%) of the nation’s GDP, a feat we hope would increase significantly in the next decade. Against this backdrop, the 30th Anniversary of NCC, marked in collaboration with core stakeholders in the creative industry, was an avenue for the Commission to appreciate their contributions over the years and reaffirm its commitment to building a copyright system that serves their interests.
With the partnerships that have been built, there is no doubt that together, we have begun to change the copyright narrative with the objective of growing the nation’s creative wealth.
The Federal Government, under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has introduced various policies and programmes aimed at tapping into the soft power of the creative sector. Taking a cue from the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Policy on Ease of Doing Business, the NCC has continued to provide the enabling legal and regulatory environment to grow the sector and guarantee return on investment.
As the agency of Government responsible for all copyright matters in Nigeria, NCC remains committed to a strong, balanced and efficient copyright system that is able to grow the creative industries and sustain today’s knowledge ecosystem. To this end, our primary goals remain:
- Strengthening human and institutional capacity for better service delivery;
- Improving the policy and legal framework for a functional copyright system;
- Embarking on a well-coordinated strategic enforcement plan to significantly reduce piracy;
- Initiating appropriate and effective schemes for better rights management and regulation;
- Promoting respect for copyright through awareness and education amongst right owners, users, policy makers and officials;
- Supporting national and international processes to build a more balanced, development-oriented copyright system;
- Compliance with the rules of probity and good governance to ensure that Nigeria gets premium value for its copyright system.
As we celebrate the relevance of the creative industry to national development, the Commission renews its commitment to proactive implementation of its mandates under the Copyright Act; it recommits to intensifying collaboration with national and international development partners to engender enhanced copyright awareness, protection and enforcement interventions nationwide.
In the years ahead, the Commission counts on the continued support of all stakeholders towards creating an enabling environment for the wellbeing and development of the creative industry and the sustenance of the rising profile of Nigeria as a country committed to the protection of creative enterprise.
Once again, the Commission expresses its profound appreciation to all stakeholders and partners at national and international levels for their support in the implementation of its statutory functions over the years and looks forward to more fruitful collaboration in the years ahead.
Mr Vincent Oyefeso is the Director, Public Affairs ,Nigerian Copyriht Commission