The Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) Dr John Asein, says the new Copyright Act, 2022 will help the commission to reboot the nation’s copyright system to meet international standards.
Asein said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the Capacity Building for Young Lawyers, organised by the commission in collaboration with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Abuja Branch.
BRANDPOWER reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday signed the Copyright Bill in to law.
The Copyright Act, 2022 which repeals the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, will provide for the regulation, protection and administration of copyright in Nigeria.
The director-general said that the provisions in the present Copyright Act would give the commission an opportunity to reboot the copyright system in the country.
According to him, this Act will now be compliance with all the major treaties in copyright. The provisions of these treaties are now catered for under the new copyright Act.
“For instance, rights are clearly defined and exemptions are better articulated in a balanced manner. The exemptions that will allow society to benefit from copyright works have also been well defined.
“We have addressed all the online abuses and challenges of the digital environment. So, this present Act addresses digital works.
“For instance, in the old law, copies were defined as material copies but the new Act is now defined in a way that it will allow even soft copies,” the Commission chief said.
According to him, under the new copyright Act, the commission also has provisions for enforcement in the digital environment.
“For instance, when your work is being abused on the website, you can have that material dropped down from that website.
“So, we now have the power to bring down works. The benefits will begin to cascade to the different copyright fields.
“This is because people will now have a safe corridor to exploit works in the digital environment online and they will have no fear that there will be uncontrolled abuse of those works.
“One good thing about enforcement in the new Copyright Act is that we now have sanctions that put more burden on any person who commits an offence now.”
Asein said that every sanction or punishment under the new Act was minimum, saying that it meant that a judge could choose to give maximum punishment depending on the peculiar circumstances of that offence or offender.
“Secondly, the commission has been given specific powers in terms of regulating not only the production; we can regulate the sale, warehousing and other dealings in the copyright matters.
“This means that people who keep pirated books in warehouses can also be regulated.
“There is also a new development when people bring in boxes and those boxes enable you to crack encoded signals of a broadcasting organisation,” he said.
According to him, the new Act also empowers the commission to regulate pirated boxes to prevent people from watching television channels illegally.
“This law now provides against the compromising of Technical Protection Measures (TPM).
“So, any TPM that comes in under the present Act is now protected. So, if you find such boxes, you can go after whoever is importing it.
“In fact, one of the things, the commission will be doing shortly is to declare such boxes to be illegal unless you have the approval of the commission to bring them in.”
Also, speaking, Mr Oluwatobiloba Moody, the Director of, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said that the present Act would go a long way in addressing the issues of piracy and other intellectual property-related issues in Nigeria.
Also, the Chairman of NBA, Abuja Branch, Mr Afam Okeke, said that the purpose of the training was to interface with young lawyers to get them well-grounded on the provisions of the Copyright Act and copyright system as well as the general intellectual property field.
Okeke said the whole idea was to enhance their skills to begin to contribute and grow a creative economy.