Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) DG, Mr John Asein
The Copyright (Repeal) Bill, as approved by the Federal Executive Council, has been transmitted to the National Assembly for enactment into law.
The Federal Executive Council, at its meeting of 13 June 2018 (Ref. EC 2018) had considered and approved the draft Bill presented to it by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The new Bill, which aims to overhaul the copyright system in Nigeria, would, among other things, strengthen the enforcement mechanism against copyright violations through stiffer penal sanctions and more effective procedures better suited to the digital environment.
It also addresses the country’s outstanding obligations under the relevant copyright treaties. The cardinal objectives of the Bill are to protect the rights of authors to ensure just rewards and recognition for their intellectual efforts and provide appropriate limitations and exceptions to guarantee access to creative works.
It is likewise to facilitate Nigeria’s compliance with obligations arising from relevant international copyright treaties; and enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for effective regulation, administration and enforcement.
Following the launch of a comprehensive reform of Nigeria’s copyright system in 2012 and based on clearly defined national aspirations, a first Draft Copyright Bill, in line with global standards, was released to the public in February 2015.
Based on the comments from stakeholders and the public, the draft was extensively revised by a team of national experts before it was presented to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval.
The new Bill, which is the product of years of extensive consultation with local and international stakeholders, industry practitioners, right owner associations, experts in copyright and other interested persons, would be the first major overhaul of the nation’s copyright system in over three decades.
Some of the new issues addressed in the Bill include the right of remuneration for some categories of copyright owners, special exceptions for blind, visually impaired and print disabled persons, provision against circumvention of technological protection measures, rights management information, an elaborate enforcement mechanism for online infringement, and stiffer sanctions for criminal infringements of copyright.
In view of the recent resolution of the House of Representatives on the need to strengthen the NCC to live up to its expectations and mandates, the Commission is hopeful that the Bill will receive favourable attention.
The Commission appeals to all stakeholders and partners to support the process.