The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has assured stakeholders in the Nigerian Film Industry that the recent ratification of Copyright Treaties by the Commission offers great opportunities to the creative industries.
The ratified Treaties are the Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), WIPO Treaty on Audio Visual Performances and the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.
Special Assistant to the Director-General, NCC and Director, Regulatory Department, Mr. Mike Akpan gave the assurance while representing the Commission, at a roundtable during the 35th Session of WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights in Geneva, held from November 13-17, 2017.
According to him, some of the benefits to be derived by the film industry from the ratification and eventual domestication of the treaties include: foreign investment in the industry, strengthening of contractual obligations beyond domestic borders and facilitating enhanced capacity of the industry through strategic intervention of Government.
In his presentation at the event, Mr. Mike Akpan provided a background to the Copyright Reforms of the Nigerian Copyright Commission and noted that the reform was necessitated by the need to strengthen the copyright and enforcement framework to enhance the competitiveness of the creative industries in the context of digital environment and knowledge based global economy.
The event themed “Developments in the Copyright field in Nigeria and their Potential Impact on the Growth of the Nigerian Film Industry” was organized by the International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations (FIAPF) in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations.
The highly interactive meeting was centered on the recent decision by Nigeria to ratify the WIPO Copyright Treaties, the ongoing review of the copyright laws; and how to build new opportunities for funding, distributing Nigerian films and widen its international reach.
The Chairman of the event and Senior Advisor, FIAPF, Mr. Bertrand Moullier, a Senior Advisor, in his address also expressed optimism that Nigeria’s recent decision to ratify four major international copyright treaties will have a positive impact on the Nigerian Film Industry.
Mr. Moullier observed that the Nollywood, is one of the most prolific entertainment industry in the world, having in terms of volume production, the highest number of productions per year. He stressed that it is no doubt imperative that its creators and entrepreneurs now seek a stable system of regulation and legal incentives in order to take the dynamic sector to the next level of a major force in local job creation and GDP grower of the Country.
Discussing the Draft Copyright Bill, Professor, Bankole Sodipo noted that there are some remarkable improvement on the present Copyright Law, which includes the provision that captures, the right of Broadcasting for films, as well as the right of making available of films, these he said were in line with the provisions of the WCT and WPPT.
According to him, other similar provisions are on Technological Provision Measures as well as Rights Management Information, inclusion of a provision on transfer of rights of performers and the right to share in revenue for exploitation of their fixed performances. He also spoke on the expansion of exceptions and limitations which includes provision to grant access to works for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired persons.
Mr. Kunle Afolayan, a film Producer and Director, reacting to questions regarding the state of rights enforcement as part of domestic challenges, stated that the industry has had challenges of piracy, stressing that this hyped by inadequate enforcement mechanisms of the public agencies.
He however noted that with the current reform of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, and in particular the prospects of the new copyright law, the industry looks forward to a better reinforcement and rights protection regime.
Speaking at the event, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to United Nations in Geneva, His Excellency Ambassador Audu A. Kadiri, appreciated the efforts of FIAPF and WIPO for creating a platform to discuss issues relating to Nigeria’s film industry.
He thanked all the participants and assured that the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is taking necessary steps to promote policies that will support and reposition the entire creative industry of the country.
Other presenters at the session include Mr. Tonye Princewill, a Port Harcourt based film Producer, Mr. Allain Modot, an International Film Distribution Agent, based in France and distinguished delegates from member states of WIPO as well as Senior Officials of WIPO.