2019 USPTO Seminar: NCC Joins International Discourse on Current IP, Copyright Trends

As part of efforts to strengthen relationships with international bodies, understand recent trends in the Intellectual Property and Copyright sector across the globe and enhance staff capacity, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) recently made its mark at the 2019 United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Copyright Seminar held at the Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA), Alexandria, Virginia from 15th  to 19thJuly 2019.

The Seminar was designed to examine Copyright and related rights with focus on the current work of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (WIPO SCCR); the intersection of copyright and trade; various enforcement issues including Internet Service Provider (ISP) liability under the US Law; voluntary initiatives addressing copyright infringement in the online environment; Federal criminal enforcement and international cooperation initiatives and the economic benefits of strong copyright protection and enforcement.

The Director, Global Intellectual Property Academy, Miriam K. Dechant who disclosed this in a welcome address, noted that the seminar also covered copyright issues related to the various industries, which include publishing, software, music, film and visual arts while also featuring creators across the genres of IP to share their experiences on how copyright helps them in protecting and enforcing their rights.

She urged participants to share the knowledge gained with colleagues back home, noting that the USPTO, GIPA is committed to the train-the-trainer style of knowledge dissemination and providing capacity support for the growth of Intellectual Property (IP) and Copyright regime across nations. 

Meanwhile, IP stakeholders and major players in the US Copyright scene have stressed the need for countries to enact policies and copyright laws with a high standard of protection; efficient enforcement regime; sound legal structures and open and fair markets, noting that they are catalysts for growth in the creative industries and sustainable economic development across nations.

The stakeholders who were speakers and resource persons during the Seminar, also took time to emphasise the need for a proactive national copyright education, effective antipiracy campaigns and collective management regimes as the way to go in the administration of robust IP and Copyright Legislations. 

The five-day long programme gave participants the opportunity to share details on Copyright administration, enforcement, enlightenment and challenges faced in their various countries while learning the method being applied by the USPTO for domesticating the various WIPO Treaties and Agreements and dealing with emerging copyright issues of administration and protection in the regular and digital space.

The programme also had a round-table on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions in the Digital Age and Secondary Liability for Copyright Infringement, including Landlord Liability where participants shared the provisions of their national legislations while the USPTO shared how the issues were being addressed under its legislation.

Issues discussed at different sessions during the seminar include: Economic Impact of Copyright Industries; Overview of the Visual Arts Industry: Emerging Business Models and Piracy in the Digital Age; Songwriter Workshop; Overview of the Publishing Industry: Emerging Business Model and Piracy in the Digital Age; Copyright Issues for Libraries; Copyright Subject Matter and Exclusive Rights; Copyright Exceptions and Limitations and Collective Management Organisations.

More IP issues examined are: Recordation and the role of the U.S. Copyright Office; Copyright Registration and the Role of the U.S. Copyright Office; Copyright versus Patent Protection for Software; Overview of the Software Industry: Emerging Models and Piracy in the Digital Age; Overview of the Film and Television Industry: Emerging Business Models and Piracy in the Digital Age; the Intersection of Copyright and Enforcement Provisions in Free Trade Agreements; Internet Service Provider Liability: U.S. and International Approaches and Developments.

Other issues are: Federal Criminal Enforcement of Copyright and International Cooperation in the Prosecution of Online Piracy; Overview of the Music Industry: Impact of Legal, Technological, and Business Developments; Current Work of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR); The WIPO Internet Treaties and Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) and Rights Management Information.

Participants at the highly interactive seminar comprised representatives from IP and Copyright related agencies of countries, including: Nigeria, South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Pakistan, Peru, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Indonesia, Spain, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Japan and Islamabad. The NCC had two participants at the event: Senior Information Officer, Mrs. Mary Avoswahi Adegbile from the Head Office, Abuja and Copyright Officer I, Mr. Uwem Udoh from the Lagos State Office of the Commission.


Mary Avoswahi Adegbile

For: Director-General