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New Copyright Act to reform existing system

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By Usman Oladimeji

Act in Nigeria will be regulated under the Copyright Act, 2022.

The newly passed Copyright Law, which President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria just signed into law, has been hailed as a positive move and has been met with accolades. According to Dr. John Asein, director general of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), the new Copyright Act, 2022 would enable the commission to reform the nation’s system to conform to international standards. This was discussed by him in Abuja at the event titled “Capacity Building for Young Lawyers,” which was organized by the commission in conjunction with the Abuja Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

In Nigeria will it be regulated, protected, and administered in accordance with the Copyright Act, 2022, which will repeal the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. The Act as it stands now provides the commission with the ability to reignite the system in the nation. Dr. Asein said that the new Act would now encompass the terms of all the key treaties, bringing it into conformity with these treaties.

Individuals now have a secure passageway to utilize works online.

As part of the new Act provision, rights are explicitly specified and exemptions are precisely clarified in a balanced way. In addition, the exceptions that will enable society to reap the benefits of copyright works have been clearly established. Dr. Asein said that the current Act targets digital works and has solved all the problems plaguing the online and the digital world. For example, under the previous legislation, copies could only be hard copies, but under the new Act, copies are defined in a manner that permits softcopy as well.

He went on to say that the new copyright Act includes mechanisms for enforcement by the commission in the digital realm. With the new Act now, you may get content removed from a website when it is being used inappropriately. As individuals will now have a secure passageway to utilize works in the digital realm online without worrying about the unchecked exploitation of those works, the positive effects will ripple out to other areas.

All penalties under the new law were mandatory minimum.

Dr. Asein further noted that the new Copyright Act offers the commission an edge in enforcing punishments that make it tougher for anybody who committed an offense. He emphasized that all penalties under the new law were mandatory minimums, with judges having discretion to impose stiffer punishments in consideration of individual cases. Moreover, the commission has been granted extensive powers to regulate not just production but also distribution, storage, and other activities pertaining to copyrights.

Hence, it is possible to control the behavior of those who store pirated books in storage facilities. The new law also gives the commission the authority to control unlawful TV-viewing equipment, such as the devices used to decipher the encrypted signals of a transmission line. Technological Protection Measures (TPM) that are introduced under the current Act are now shielded against compromise owing to the provisions of this Act. Even more crucially, the commission will soon declare that such tools are unlawful unless they have been approved by the commission.

The current Act will help a great deal in combating piracy.

On his part, Mr. Oluwatobiloba Moody, Director of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said that the current Act will help a great deal in combating piracy and other problems associated with intellectual property in Nigeria. The training’s goal, according to Mr. Afam Okeke, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association’s Abuja Chapter, was to familiarize young lawyers with the intellectual property area in general and the requirements of the Copyright Act and copyright system in particular. In his view, the primary aim was to help them develop their talents so that they might participate in and expand the creative economy.

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NCC: Website

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