The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) since 2000, declared 26th April of every year as the World IP Day. To publicize Intellectual Property Rights (the ability of creators to control and benefit from the fruit of their intellectual endeavours); their creators, and challenges they face.
This year’s theme, “Digital Creativity: Culture Reimagined” seeks to examine the impact of techno-digital advancement to cultural evolution across borders.
In this era of WiFi, all form of literary works, audio-visual and other forms of IP travel across borders with little or no regard for copyright thereby affecting the way and manner in which consumable culture is created, distributed and appreciated.
WIPO, in its synopsis of the theme noted that “Ever more accessible digital technologies have swept away physical constraints, placing a world of cross-cultural collaboration at the fingertips of every artist and creator, feeding the imagination in new ways. And with this blooming of digital creativity comes the boon to the digital consumer. We read, watch and listen to the works of countless creators across the world wherever, whenever and however we want".
Today, the flexibility with which IP is created, accessed and financed, have far reaching effects on the reward system of creators, bordering particularly on areas of remuneration, exploitation and protection.
The process of satisfying the demand of the digital world, if not properly guided, poses the potential of enormous damage to IP rights. Millions of books, songs and movies are released every day online into the waiting hands of online pirates who have mastered the art of digital piracy.
Sharing and remixing of books, songs, movies, art works and other forms of IP has become the order of the day.
This near-free access to cultural consumables also poses challenges to Enforcement Agencies like ours in discharging our mandate. The complexities of policing the cyber space further stresses the need to review our Legislation and enforcement strategies to address digital piracy, strengthen existing collaborations with countries with which we have Treaty obligations, enlighten local and foreign stakeholders on the emerging trends in the IP sector.
It also imposes a greater responsibility on the creators themselves. The sheer volume of digital traffic means the stakeholders have to partner with Agencies in protecting their works. They need to invest in cutting-edge technology that helps to protect their works in the digital environment.
In the foreseeable future, the terrain of IP enforcement is likely to shift more and more from the terrestrial terrain to the virtual. Navigating this brave new world, will require all the resources available to Agencies and stakeholders to be channelled towards this fight.
On this year's occasion of World IP Day, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and its stakeholders celebrate Nigeria's versatile creative community, whose Intellectual ingenuity has constantly kept Nigeria in the spotlight globally. We hail them for preserving our rich socio-cultural values and for their contribution to the economic advancement of our great nation.
I here, do urge, that as we, as a Country embrace all the benefits that the digital-technology brings to our life; we must be critical and mindful not to use the same to violate the rights of our teeming IP creators. It is our duty to not only appreciate their works but also protect and encourage them by making sure that they are rewarded.
To our esteemed Intellectual Property Community: authors, right owners and stakeholders, I say, bravo!!!. Be rest assured that the Commission is committed to creating an enabling environment for the advancement of IP in Nigerian. We also enjoin our creative artistes to work with us in achieving this laudable goal.
Have a happy World IP Day Celebration