NCC Sensitizes Nigerian Universities on Protection of Intellectual Property

06 December 2016

Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission, (NCC) Mr. Afam Ezekude has stated that, as  more nations leverage on their innovations and creative resource pool as foundation for development, Nigeria being a country with abundant human talents and creativity, cannot afford not to be an active participant of the new global knowledge driven system.

The DG disclosed this in a paper presentation titled “The Role of NCC in Acquiring and Protecting Copyright for Nigerian Universities” at the 2016 UNIVERSITIES AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP CONFERENCE AND EXPO held at the University of Calabar from November 2 to 4, 2016, Mr. Ezekude in his paper presentation, explained that Copyright is an arm of intellectual property which essentially provides protection for creativity in the literary and artistic fields and further expounded the underlying philosophy of copyright which is to grant certain exclusive rights to authors and creators of works to enable them derive economic recompense that serves as incentives for more creative ventures.

He also highlighted on the statutory framework for copyright protection and enforcement in Nigeria as enshrined in the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
On Enforcement and Administration of rights, the DG equally stated that the myriads of challenges confronting the rights owners which makes it difficult for them to effectively protect and enforce their rights, necessitated the establishment of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) .  
The Commission, in the discharge of its mandate, strengthens Rights Management in the Industry through proactive Enforcement and Prosecution of Copyright offences and strengthening the policy framework of Copyright administration.

Pursuant to its Right Management goals, the Commission established the e-registration system in 2014 as a platform to enhance protection and management of rights. Although Copyright is automatic upon creation of a work, subsequent registration of the work under the e-registration system facilitates recording and proof of the existence of the work, Mr. Ezekude said.

He also hinted that the e-registration platform will be particularly useful to the academic communities whose primary activities involve the creation of scholarly works, most of which are not published for public access. Putting such materials in the data base of the e-registration system provides an advantage to document facts relating to authorship and ownership of rights therein.

While calling on authors and prospective rights owners to take advantage of some structures put in place by the Commission, the DG enlightened the University Community also on the Collective Management System, which allows individual authors to come together and pool their rights which are collectively managed by an organization.
This system, he explained, helps authors to maintain reasonable control over the use of their works in a manner that they also derive economic benefits from them.  He said the Commission also puts in checks and balances to regulate such organizations to ensure that authors obtain the benefits of the system.

The DG listed examples of Collective Management Organizations (CMO) approved by the Commission to date as:
•    Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON)
•    Reproductive Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG)
•    Audiovisual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS)

On the future of copyright legislation in Nigeria, Mr. Ezekude informed that the Commission in November 2012 launched the Reform of the Copyright System to reposition the Nigerian creative industries for greater growth; strengthen their capacity to compete more effectively in the global marketplace, and also enable Nigeria to fully satisfy its obligations under the various International Copyright Instruments.

Highlights of the event were presentations by different speakers and distribution of the Commission’s leaflet on ‘Summary of Enforcement and Prosecutorial Efforts of the Nigerian Copyright Commission from 2011 to second Quarter 2016’, and snapshots by participants.

Amos Abutu
For: Director-General

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