As a Nigerian, it is shocking most times how we relate with the simple things of life. Nigerians do not understand and respect the concept of copyrights. It is really sad but a true fact. I say this because I have been a victim of such. Most articles I have written have been lifted directly.
Scores of artistes have passed through this same phase and are currently going through it. They sweat to create and then from nowhere, someone decides to make money at the expense of the creator.
Examples abound, with Simi using the sound track for Joromi originally by Sir Victor Uwaifo, Timi Dakolo and Majek Fashek, Tecno and the danfo drivers’ crooners and recently Tomi Adeshina and IrokoTv. We also have cases of people in Alaba International market making illegal copies of movies and songs and selling without recourse to the original creator.
Understanding that a work of art or movie or music or book is an intellectual property, and therefore cannot and should not be made use of without permission is very important
But what is copyright
According to Wikipedia, copyright is the legal right grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine and decide whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. Every country has its copyright laws, however there are numerous agreements between countries allowing for creators to be covered by the copyrights of these countries
What law is in place in Nigeria to combat copyright infringement?
The Copyright Act, Chapter 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. This act was re-codified and states clearly what can be copyrighted and what acts can be termed as infringements. It also stipulates fines as well when infringements occurs. It also charges the Nigeria Copyright Council with being responsible for all matters relating to copyright in Nigeria.
Over the years, the government agency mounted a battle to stop copyright infringement, but all that has fizzled out. Piracy is certainly at an all-time high in the country. With the advent of social media, it has become easier to infringe on copyright. The western world has been at the forefront of the battle, but here in Nigeria, it is a sham. Blogs, social media influencers and even the corporate world are all guilty of content theft, outright “copying and pasting”.
For an end to this scourge, the Nigeria Copyright Council must be properly equipped to fight copyright theft both either digitally, by print or any means by which this crime is committed.
It is also important that the citizenry be educated on the illegality of their actions. It is easy for an individual or corporate to infringe and not even feel guilty, all because they view copyright infringement in Nigeria as no big deal.
The Senate must also not be left out, as they must ensure that the laws prohibiting copyright theft and infringement are up to international standards and the punishment for breaking the law are harsh.
Let it be known that copyright theft is just mindless lifting and shows a lack of integrity and creativity on the part of whoever engages in this despicable act.
If you are looing to copyright your work, you will find this article from Lawpadi very useful