Nollywood, Rejoice: Nigerian Copyright Reform Draft 2015 Bill Published


In November 2012, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (‘the Commission’) formally launched the Reform of the Copyright System. The key objective of the reform was to re-position Nigeria’s creative industries for greater growth; strengthen their capacity to compete more effectively in the global marketplace, and also enable Nigeria to fully satisfy its obligations under the various International Copyright Instruments, which it has either ratified or indicated interest to ratify.

Since the formal launch of the Reform, the Commission has undertaken a number of activities, including review and comparative analysis and case studies of similar national reform efforts; stakeholders’ consultations; collation of commentaries; and analysis of stakeholder feedback.

Following from these preliminary activities, the Commission empanelled a seven member Technical Working Group consisting of Officials of the Commission and representatives of relevant intellectual property professional bodies to undertake the task of producing a draft Copyright Bill. The Group worked through retreat sessions and meetings, at the end of which it submitted a draft Copyright Bill to the Commission.

A copy of the Draft Bill as published by the Commission on 30th October 2015 is available here. Stakeholders and interested members of the public have been invited to submit their comments on the Draft to the Commission not later than January 5, 2016.

The Draft Copyright Bill has 88 sections divided into 11 parts as follows:

Part I makes provisions for works eligible for copyright protection, qualification for protection and the nature of rights conferred on authors of such works. The part also identifies subject matters which are not eligible for protection.

Part II provides exception to copyright control. These are in the nature of general exceptions, and special exceptions. Among the special exceptions are provisions for archives, libraries, museums and galleries (S. 21); Special exceptions for blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled persons (S.22); and Special exceptions in respect of a sound recording of a musical work (S.23).

Part III deals with issues of ownership, transfers and licenses in respect of protected works. Provision is also made for compulsory licenses. These include Compulsory licence for translation and reproduction of certain works (S. 27); License to produce and publish works for certain purposes (S.28); Licence for domestic broadcasting organisation (S.29); and Compulsory licenses for public interest (S.31).

Part IV makes provisions for infringement of rights and remedies to such infringements (S.32 to S.37).

Part V provides for criminal liability. Apart from creating liability for principal offenders, there is also liability in respect of aiding and procuring the commission of copyright offences (SS 38 -41).

Part VI provides for anti-piracy measures. In particular, provision is made for prohibition of circumvention of technological protection measures adopted by owners of copyright (S. 44) and falsification, alteration or removal of electronic rights management information (S. 45). Actions for circumvention of technological protection measures and right management information are provided for in Section 46.

Part VII has provisions relating to online content. This part include provision for issuance of Notice for take down of infringing content (S. 47 ) and procedures for effecting a take-down of such content as well as suspension of accounts of repeat infringers (S. 48 & S. 49). The part provides for limitation of liability of Service Providers with respect to Information residing on systems or networks at direction of users (S. 51) and use of Information location tools (S. 52). Provision for blocking access to infringing content is available (S. 54).

Part VIII deals with rights of performers. The Part provides for protected performances (S. 56), restrictions on use of performances (S. 57), moral rights of performers (S. 58), and exception to performer’s rights (S. 60), among others. A provision on transfer of rights is available (S. 61). Apart from provisions for infringement of performer’s rights (S. 63), the part also provides criminal liability in respect of infringement of performer’s right (S. 65).

Part IX provides for the protection of expressions of folklore. Provision is made for infringement of folklore rights (S. 67) as well as criminal liability in respect of such infringements (S. 68).

Part X has provisions on administrative framework. The part provides for the establishment, membership and functions of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (S. 70); and appointment of the Director-General and other staff of the Commission (and Copyright Inspectors) (SS 71 & 72). The part also provides for registration of works (S. 73); establishment and approval of collective managements organizations (S. 74); and levy on copyright materials (also known as private copying levy) (S. 75). The provision relating to collective management organizations allows for extended collective management (S.74 (10)).

Part XI has miscellaneous provisions. These include provisions on establishment of a dispute resolution panel (S.76); Restrictions on importation of certain works (S. 79); powers of the Commission to make regulations (S. 80); Limitation on suit against the Commission (S. 84); Interpretation section (S. 85); and transitional and savings provisions (S. 87).

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