The National Library of Nigeria (NLN) and other libraries in Nigeria have been urged to always respect the copyright of authors and operate in line with global best practices.
Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Dr. John O. Asein made the call recently while receiving the National Librarian and CEO of National Library of Nigeria (NLN), Prof. Chinwe Veronica Anunobi and her Management team during a courtesy visit to NCC Headquarters, Abuja. Dr. Asein pointed out that while the digitization of library materials may be necessary to preserve them, the copyright in such works must always be respected. He counseled that such compliance with the tenets of copyright would not only insulate the library from adverse claims but would also attract more support from serious partners within and outside the country.
He noted that most right owners were averse to digitisation of their works due to lack of standard safeguards and assurance that the system would not jeopardise their copyright interests. “Any digitisation project should entail getting it right at the policy and technical levels to ensure seamless and legally safe implementation”, he stated, adding that the NCC was prepared to work with the National Library and other stakeholders in the library sector to enlighten librarians on copyright best practices and help set standards on acceptable thresholds for use of resources in line with the rules on fair dealing.
The Director-General also renewed the Commission’s call for all Government funded publications to be made available not only in print for the sighted but also in accessible formats for the use of the blind, visually impaired and print disabled persons. To this end, he urged the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to make this a standing policy for all its funded book projects.
Earlier in her remarks, Prof. Anunobi had expressed concern over the deterioration of the country’s national heritage and knowledge assets and expressed the interest of the National Library of Nigeria in the digitisation of materials in its catalogue for the purpose of preservation.
She therefore called on the NCC for technical guidance in addressing the legal and copyright issues associated with the proposed digitization. The National Librarian also expressed her commitment to the promotion of open access as a means of making knowledge materials available especially for purposes of education and learning.
Both Chief Executives agreed on the need for both agencies to work together for the sustainable growth of the knowledge ecosystem and to promote the reading culture in Nigeria.