06 Mar How to Register a Copyright in Nigeria
Copyright Protection in Nigeria
A copyright is a legal right that grants the creator of an original work exclusive right to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time. The exclusive rights are not absolute; they are subject to certain limitations.
In Nigeria, copyright is governed by the Copyright Act, and the body charged with the enforcement and protection of copyright is the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
The ownership of copyright is vested in the creator of a copyright work, usually referred to as the “author” of the work. He/she owns the copyright in the work in the first instance. However, the author is at liberty to transfer his rights to a third party. In such a case, the person who has obtained the right by transfer or other legal means becomes the owner of copyright.
What is eligible for copyright protection?
- Literary works;
- Musical works;
- Artistic works;
- Cinematograph works;
- Sound recording; and
For it to be eligible for protection, the work must be sufficiently original, and must be in a form which is expressed e.g. in writing, a painting, a musical recording etc. You can’t have copyright protection over something in your head, which has not been expressed. Originality and expression are the key pillars for eligibility
Do you need to register a copyright?
It should be noted that registering for copyright is not a precondition for protection. You do not have to register your copyright. It subsists automatically in a work from the moment the work is created.
However, the NCC has established a voluntary copyright registration scheme designed to enable authors and right owners notify the Commission of the creation and existence of a work.
The NCC justifies the establishment of this scheme based on the following benefits:
- It provides an independent source of verifying data relating to a work or its author to the general public;
- The acknowledgement certificate issued provides prima facie evidence of the facts shown on it;
- It provides a depository for preserving original copies of works notified;
- The information and data contained in the Notification database offers reliable rights management information to members of the public and prospective licensees to the work
How copyright protects your work
It prevents people from:
- copying your work
- distributing copies of it, whether free of charge or for sale
- renting or lending copies of your work
- performing, showing or playing your work in public
- making an adaptation of your work
- putting it on the internet
Copyright Registration Process
You can register a copyright with the NCC by submitting a completed registration form, along with two (2) copies of the work, and evidence of payment of the prescribed fee. Registration can be done online or physically at the NCC office.
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