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U.S Works Are Protected Under Nigerian Copyright Act

02 July 2012

PUBLIC NOTICE

U.S. WORKS ARE PROTECTED UNDER NIGERIAN COPYRIGHT ACT

The attention of the Nigerian Copyright Commission ("the Commission") has been drawn to the decision of the Court of Appeal (Lagos Division) affirming the ruling of the Federal High Court in Microsoft Corporation v. Franike Associates Ltd., suggesting that copyright in works of U.S. origin are not protected under the Nigerian Copyright Act.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Commission hereby reaffirms that in addition to works authored by Nigerians and first published in Nigeria, section 5 of theCopyright Act (Cap. C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004) extends the provisions of the Nigerian Copyright Act to works from over 165 countries (the USA inclusive) that are members of the Berne Convention or other treaties or international agreements to which Nigeria is party. The section provides:

5. Copyright by reference to international agreements
(1) Copyright shall be conferred by this section on every work if –

(a) on the date of its first publication at least one of the authors is-

(i) a citizen of or domiciled in, or
(ii) a body corporate established by or under the laws of,

a country that is a party to an obligation in a treaty or other international agreement to which Nigeria is a party;

(b) the work is first published-

(i) in a country which is a party to an obligation in a treaty or other international agreement to which Nigeria is party,
x x x x

(2) Where the question arises as to whether a country is a party to an obligation in a treaty or other international agreement to which Nigeria is also a party, a certificate from the Commission to that effect shall be conclusive proof of that fact.

Nigeria is party to the following international treaties dealing with copyright:

(i) the Universal Copyright Convention (100 countries as at June 2012);
(ii) the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Woks (165 countries as at June 2012);
(iii) the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Phonogram Producers and Broadcasting Organizations (91 countries as at June 2012); and
(iv) the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property (155 countries as at June 2012).

In furtherance to the foregoing, the Nigerian Copyright Commission hereby certifies that the United States of America is party to obligations arising from the Universal Copyright Convention, the Berne Convention and the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property and by virtue of this, any work whose author is a citizen of, or domiciled in, or incorporated under the laws of the United States of America or which is first published in the United States, will be eligible for protection under the Nigerian Copyright Act.

The eligibility provided for in section 5 is in addition to the extension of protection under the Copyright (Reciprocal Extension) Order of 1972, to works from 57 countries (including the United States of America) which are listed in the Schedule to that Order.

Nigeria remains committed to its obligations under international treaties and it does not discriminate in the protection of authors or works emanating from any of the treaty countries. In the same vein the Nigerian Copyright Commission (the government agency responsible for copyright administration and enforcement) gives equal attention to the enforcement of rights under the Nigerian Copyright Act, irrespective of their country of origin.

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Website: www.copyright.gov.ng; www.eregistration.copyright.gov.ng
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