The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has called on members of the Bar to leverage on the capacity building opportunities offered by the Commission in the field of Intellectual Property (IP) and broaden their knowledge and enhance efficient service delivery.
This advice was given by the Director-General, NCC, Dr. John O. Asein at the opening of a One Day Intensive Capacity Building Workshop on Copyright for members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Gwagwalada Chapter (Eagle Bar) held at the Faculty of Law, University of Abuja on Tuesday 8th August, 2023.
Declaring the workshop open, the Director-General stressed the need for lawyers to refresh their knowledge of the law and get better acquainted with emerging developments in the creative and innovation sectors.
He noted that a well-informed Bar was necessary for sound adjudication of cases by the Bench hence the need to ensure that lawyers are well grounded to guarantee sound juridical outcomes. He expressed regret that a few IP cases have been poorly decided simply because the lawyers were either not well grounded on the principles or they overrated the strength of their client’s case. According to him, “refresher workshops expose more lawyers to emerging trends and keep them abreast of the new issues”.
While calling for more synergy between the Bar and policy makers, Dr. Asein promised that the Commission will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders, especially lawyers and academics, considering the new Copyright Act, 2022 to deepen copyright knowledge. He therefore called on participants to pay more attention to the novel provisions in the new Act and support the Commission as it develops appropriate implementation strategies for a more efficient copyright system.
The Chairman, NBA, Gwagwalada Chapter, Emmanuel Tayo Ogunjide, Esq., in his welcome address, commended the NCC Management for the support and collaborative partnership that led to the capacity building workshop. He noted that the subject of copyright has become more crucial considering the rising profile of the creative sector in Nigeria.
Mr. Ogunjide expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness for the workshop, noting that it is in line with the policy focus of the current Branch Executive to build people, career and facilitate educational development of members.
Corroborating the DG, NCC’s position on the need for refresher programmes for lawyers in the IP sector, a former Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Abuja, Prof. Kasim Musa Waziri, maintained that it is expedient for lawyers in practice to understand IP because the area is fertile. “It looks simple but with technicalities, the knowledge is needed to fertilize because there are serious issues and if lawyers are not equipped it would affect the outcome of cases,” he concluded.
Highlights of the capacity building workshop are the presentations on: “General Overview of Copyright and Related Rights in Nigeria” by the Director, Nigeria Copyright Academy, Mr. Collins Nweke; “Understanding Exceptions and Limitations, Infringements, Actions and Remedies under the Copyright Act” by Director, Operations, NCC, Mr. Obi Ezeilo; “Copyright Issues in the Digital Environment: Challenges and Opportunities” by Director, Regulatory and Compliance, Mr. Mike Akpan and “WIPO Services and Capacity Building Opportunities for Young Lawyers” by Ms. Victoria Onyeagbako of WIPO Nigeria Office.
The highly interactive workshop was organised by the Nigerian Copyright Commission in collaboration with the NBA Gwagwalada Chapter and WIPO Nigeria Office.