Expert says Nigerien copyright law’s not effective

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The copyright law in Nigeria are grossly inadequate to address the emerging trends in protection and enforcement, an expert, Dr Samuel Andrews, has said.

The Nigerian-American trained Intellectual Property (IP) expert, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the law enacted before the incursion of information technology and digital platforms, were not strong enough to effectively check piracy.

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The laws are also not adequate to attract investors in the nation’s entertainment industry.

At a reception organised in his honour by colleagues and industry stakeholders in Abuja, the Doctor of Juridical Science Intellectual Property from Suffolk University, Boston Law School, noted Nigerian entertainment industry offers great investment opportunities that can transform the economy.

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He noted that the opportunities could not be adequately explored because of the weak copyright laws which discourage investors.

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“Nigeria suffers from legal lack, and that is a big problem because our laws are not up –to- date to confront the realities of digital economy.

“The laws do not protect the creators enough, as most of the copyright infringements are done on the cyberspace.

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“There a lot of leakages in both the movie and music industries, creators are being exploited by pirates because our copyright laws are not up-to-date to confront the realities of this digital era.

“Nollywood, by statistics, is acclaimed to be the second highest employer of labour in Nigeria today, and this feat should attract both foreign and local investors for it to contribute more to the economy.

“However, they are aware that our copyright laws are not strong to protect their investments, and they are afraid to lose their huge investments to piracy,” he said.

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He stressed the need for a copyright framework that will properly address current right protection challenges in Nigeria and keep pace with global trends on copyright contents.

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The IP expert who was a contributor to the Draft Copyright Bill, for the reform of Copyright protection framework, commended the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for the initiative.

He however called on relevant government organs, especially the National Assembly, to take speedy actions towards ensuring that the bill becomes operative.

He added that there was need for Nigeria to use international copyright laws to develop her economy by domesticating copyright treaties it has signed over the years.

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“The Draft copyright Bill initiated by the NCC a few years ago is a step in the right direction, as it will reposition Nigeria’s creative industries to compete more effectively in the Global market.

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“However, policy makers, NASS and the federal executive council, should take practical steps to ensure those recommendations translate into law,” he urged.

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Andrews explained that if Nigeria copyright laws are strengthened, piracy will be curbed and local creators will reap more values for their work, while Government will generate a lot of tax revenue from the industry.

He added that local and foreign investors will then have confidence that they are protected if they come invests in the industry.

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