Nigeria has lastly updated its 2004 copyright law, bringing it into the digital period – the place the leisure business has been for many years already.
Earlier than the late Nineties, it was troublesome even to get phone providers in Nigeria. And it was very costly for personal enterprises to make movies. Since then, digital know-how has unleashed a large number of the way to obtain info and leisure.
With the arrival of digital know-how, all a filmmaker wanted was a easy video recorder and a bunch of proficient creatives. Thus trendy Nollywood – the Nigerian movie business – was born.
Nollywood employs more than a million people immediately or not directly, making the sector Nigeria’s second largest employer after agriculture. In 2022, Nollywood’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP stood at 0.1%. It’s Africa’s most successful film industry and the third largest globally after Hollywood and Bollywood when it comes to the variety of films produced annually.
However Nigeria’s copyright regime lagged behind the business’s technological and enterprise developments. The largest concern was piracy, that it was simple to repeat and promote different folks’s work with out their consent. The courts discovered themselves with new mental property issues to cope with and it was clear a brand new copyright regime was wanted.
I’ve spent a lot of my profession researching copyright law in Africa and the connection between copyright and the economic growth of Africa’s inventive industries – movies, trend, music, literature and others.
I’ve written specifically about Nollywood, arguing that it wants a brand new copyright regime whether it is to thrive. And I’ve researched the kind of copyright curriculum that legislation colleges in Nigeria want as a way to make the amended copyright legislation efficient in rising its inventive industries. My analysis helps the concept Nigeria ought to intentionally embrace digital copyright regimes in its legal guidelines and strengthen the establishments that put them into impact.
And the brand new copyright legislation in Nigeria does fill gaps. Nigerians will now have a authorized regime that may shield their creativity inside the technological area. The brand new legislation will probably be helpful to fight on-line movie piracy and lack of income from the unlawful use of copyrighted works.
The brand new legislation has the potential to create stability and predictability in industries like Nollywood. This can be a optimistic step in the direction of a extra diversified nationwide financial system – and financial development.
However will probably be necessary to permit the courts to do their job. Making an attempt to settle disputes by means of the Nigerian Copyright Fee – which is a brand new possibility – might complicate and lengthen the litigation. Which may discourage funding within the inventive business.
Key advantages of the brand new legislation
Nigeria’s new copyright legislation recognises and protects inventive works which can be primarily based on present digital productive applied sciences. It covers movies, music, performances, literary works and performances enabled by the web and wi-fi gadgets by means of streaming strategies, uploads, hyperlinks and air-drops.
The law now provides anti-circumvention gadgets. It’s now a copyright infringement to illegally circumvent a pc program, software program or a technical safety measure created to guard a copyrighted work. Movie piracy is each a felony offence and a civil flawed, with extreme punishment and penalties. This now applies to new types of on-line movie piracy too.
The brand new copyright legislation additionally features a “secure harbour” provision which protects Nollywood entrepreneurs from pointless authorized fits. For instance, on-line service supplier enterprise is an rising know-how that requires enormous funding and is susceptible to unlawful actions. Folks add unauthorised content material on an internet platform and this can lead to lawsuits which have an effect on traders on this sector. The secure harbour comes with duty on the a part of the net service supplier: it should rapidly take away unauthorised content material and should not profit financially from it.
The brand new legislation provides copyright house owners methods to resolve disputes over possession of on-line content material with out essentially going to court docket.
5 different new facets
The brand new legislation has 5 extra facets that may assist maintain the inventive financial system and promote entry to data and schooling.
Various dispute decision system. This mechanism can be utilized to settle points surrounding inventive rights inside up to date digital platforms. The method will probably be organised by the Nigerian Copyright Fee, the regulator.
Register of works. Creators are required to register their created works. Though creators of works like Nollywood movies robotically personal their copyright, the register – if effectively executed – might assist with rights administration and be a useful resource for potential traders within the business.
Consumer generated content material. Whenever you take a photograph of your self and add it on platforms like Fb, YouTube, Instagram or TikTok, what you may have performed is add content material on an internet service supplier. You could have copyright over that content material. The brand new copyright legislation clearly defines your rights and regulates infringement of such rights.
Copyright exceptions. Generally a copyrighted work can be utilized with out the copyright proprietor’s authorisation. The brand new legislation appears to take the strategy that the general public has a proper to make use of a copyrighted work if it’s good for society. For instance, anybody can use a copyrighted work for instructional functions – to show in a classroom, for information reporting, criticism, or parody. Folks can even use the underlying thought within the copyrighted work (concepts aren’t protected by copyright) to create a brand new, “spinoff” work.
Copyright administration organisation. One other new side is that regulators can appoint multiple copyright administration organisation to serve a selected class of inventive work. This can probably additional liberalise and democratise creativity.
Legal guidelines should be efficient in motion. If the brand new legislation is to profit Nollywood and different digital industries, authorities establishments and insurance policies will want revamping.
The Nigerian Copyright Commission ought to use its new administrative powers fastidiously. It needs to be delicate to the truth that solely the courts can choose disputes of property rights.
The fee should cease licensing just one collective administration organisation per inventive class. At the moment, for instance, within the musical works class the fee has granted just one copyright administration organisation the licence to gather royalties on behalf of creators. This has resulted in court docket battles for sole control over royalties. If the fee makes rights administration extra aggressive, there could also be much less rigidity within the sector. Creatives ought to have extra selection.
Nigeria may even must pay extra consideration to coaching specialists with data of the digital period legal guidelines. The university creative and legal curriculum wants reform together with the brand new legislation.
If the brand new legislation is to profit Nollywood, it must be correctly applied.
Why this issues
The up to date Nigerian copyright legislation recognises how a recent inventive system can encourage funding within the Nigerian movie business.
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