The Copyright Bill, 2022 was signed into law by the Nigerian President on March 17, 2023, resulting in the repeal of the Copyright Act of 2004. This newly signed bill will likely be referred to as the Copyright Act of 2023.
The Act provides a comprehensive explanation of copyright, encompassing various forms of creative works such as audiovisual, musical, artistic, literary, and broadcast. Furthermore, it tackles concerns related to digital and online usage of copyrighted works by enhancing author rights and imposing stricter punishments for criminal violations. Additionally, the Act specifically safeguards audio-visual works in digital content. It declares it unlawful to utilize any form of internet content, including images, films, sound recordings, and other outputs, without the creators’ consent.
Section 2(1) of the Copyright Act 2022 makes provisions for works to qualify for copyright and they include
(a) literary works;
(b) musical works;
(c) artistic works;
(d) audiovisual works;
(e) sound recordings; and
A literary, musical, or artistic work shall not be eligible to be copyrighted unless the following occurs, according to Section 2(a-b) of the Copyright Act:
(a) some effort has been expended on making the work, to give it an original character; and
(b) the work has been fixed in any medium of expression known or later to be developed, from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated either directly or with the aid of any machine or device.
The legal privilege known as copyright protects the owner of intellectual property from exploitation, it protects an author’s work from indiscriminate usage by forbidding the unauthorized copying and distribution of their creations. Among other things, intellectual property includes things like creative and literary works, computer programs, designs, marks, and innovations.
The Act brings significant benefits to creators, inventors, and brand owners, especially those in the digital realm. It aims to balance the fair compensation of artists with the public’s access to new works and information. Furthermore, the Act addresses the challenges faced by copyright holders in the digital sphere and empowers them to take legal action against online infringements. Overall, the Act demonstrates a bold step in addressing the risks posed by technological advancements.
Important New Clauses of the Act[i]:
- The new act contains clauses that give copyright owners the authority to send out notifications of infringement for the removal or deactivation of links to illegal content[ii]. With regard to online content that violates copyright, the legislation gives the Nigerian Copyright Commission the authority to prohibit websites.
- The Act specifies the types of works that are eligible for copyright protection, including broadcasts, audiovisual works, sound recordings, and literary and musical compositions. The former act’s cinematography was removed from this list and replaced with audiovisual works.
- Folklore is a traditional cultural expression granted specific respect under the new Act and is shielded from exploitation for commercial advantage outside of its original context. Any party wishing to utilize folkloric terms for commercial purposes must first acquire consent from the involved indigenous group and/or the Nigerian Copyright Commission. Failure to comply might result in the user facing criminal penalties.
- The Act outlines criteria for relying on the fair dealing defense. These considerations include the intended use, the quantity and longevity of the section utilized in proportion to the work as a whole, and the impact of the use on the work’s potential market or worth.
- The law guarantees digital content protection. The creations of online content providers, including images, movies, audio files, and other media, are thereby shielded from copyright violations. Therefore, it is prohibited to utilize digital content without the owner’s or the authors’ permission.
- The new Act specifies the types of works that are eligible for copyright protection, including broadcasts, audiovisual works, sound recordings, and literary and musical compositions. The former act’s cinematography was removed from this list and replaced with audiovisual works[iii].
- The statute makes it easier for those who are blind or visually impaired to access published works. This signifies a big step forward in the development of a society where everyone can benefit from education[iv].
Furthermore, the Copyrights Act 2022 offers substantial advantages to creators, inventors, and brand owners, particularly those operating in the digital landscape. It strives to strike a harmonious balance between ensuring fair and proper compensation for artists and promoting public interest in accessing new works and intellectual creations. Furthermore, the Act effectively tackles the formidable challenges faced by copyright holders in the digital domain by granting them the authority to take legal action against online infringements of their works. This Act represents a courageous endeavor to address the imminent perils associated with technological advancements.
[i] Copyrights Act 2022
[ii] Section 54 and 55 Copyrights Act 2022.
[iii] Section 2(1) copyrights act 2022
[iv] Section 26.
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