The United States Government has indicated its commitment, in partnership with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), to strengthen the Intellectual Property system in Nigeria.
This commitment was reaffirmed by a delegation of United States Embassy officials in Nigeria when they paid a courtesy visit recently to the Commission. The delegation, led by Ms Tanya Hill of the US Department of Justice and Coordinator of the International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHP) Development Assistance Programme at the US Embassy, included Ms Susan Garro, Economic Counselor; Mrs Bisi Olabanji, a USDOJ Legal Advisor; Ms Kate Kaetcer-Hodson and Ms Linda Odume, both of the Economic Section of US Department of State (USDOS).
Congratulating the newly appointed Director-General of the Commission, Mr. John Asein, Ms. Hill reiterated that the US Government agencies would work with the Commission towards the review of the Nigerian Copyright Act to better suit the digital environment. She called for specific training proposals to boost the operational capacity of the Commission’s Copyright Inspectors, adding that the Embassy would also be collaborating with the relevant Nigerian IP agencies to promote awareness and educate the public on the ills of product counterfeiting and online copyright piracy.
In his remarks, the NCC Director-General, Mr. John Asein stated that the Commission was poised to change the copyright narrative in Nigeria to underscore the relevance of copyright protection to wealth creation and national economic development. He added that the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Commission will be used to galvanise the creative sector and policy makers to confront the challenges militating against maximising the gains of the sector. He reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment to rebuilding the copyright system as a tool of national development, particularly in today’s knowledge-driven industry.
The Director-General also indicated that the Commission is working with the different sectors of the creative industry to find appropriate solutions to their respective challenges.
On the imperative of online protection of copyright works, he solicited for more collaboration and technical assistance to address the growing menace of online piracy.
Observing that there were copyright issues in the counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products, the Director General hinted that the Commission would work with the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in its fight against counterfeit drugs in the country.
Mr. Asein assured the delegation on Nigeria’s commitment to discharging its obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other relevant IP treaties, including the effective protection and enforcement of rights.