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Senate passes bill to strengthen copyright law, prohibits online duplication

Senate copyright law

A bill to provide for the holistic review of Nigeria’s Copyright Law was on Wednesday passed by the Nigerian Senate.

According to a statement by the Senate President’s aide, Ezrel Tabiowo, the review is aimed at strengthening the provision of policy and legal framework for the effective regulation, protection and administration of copyright in line with global best practices.

He said the bill was tagged: “A Bill For An Act To Repeal The Copyright Act CAP LFN 2004 And To Re-enact The Copyright Act 2021”, and sponsored by Senator Mukhail Abiru (Lagos East).

The statement read in part, “The passage of the bill followed the consideration of a report by the Joint Committee on Trade and Investment; and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

“Co-Chair of the Joint Committee, Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali (Gombe North), in his presentation, said the bill essentially seeks to strengthen the copyright regime in Nigeria to enhance the competitiveness of its creative industries in a digital and knowledge-based global economy.

“According to the lawmaker, the re-enactment of the bill would effectively protect the rights of authors to ensure just rewards and recognition for their intellectual efforts.

“He, however, stated that the legislation would also provide appropriate limitation and exceptions to guarantee access to creative works, encourage cultural interchange and advance public welfare.

“He explained that when signed into law by the President, the new law would facilitate Nigeria’s compliance with obligations arising from relevant international copyright treaties and enhance the capacities of the Nigerian Copyright Commission for effective administration and enforcements of the provisions of the a copyright Act.”

The lawmaker was quoted as lamenting that, “piracy of Nigerian creative works has devastated businesses, harmed consumers and acted as disincentive to foreign direct investment in relevant sectors.”

Alkali further explained that “the proposed legislation makes online/digital reproduction an infringement as well as properly defines copy to accommodate transient or non-permanent copy that are obtainable online.”

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