Where any country is a party to a treaty or other international agreement to which Nigeria is also a party, and the minister is satisfied that the country in question provides for protection of copyright in works that are protected under the Copyright Act, the minister may, by order in the Federal Gazette, extend the application of the Copyright Act in respect of any or all of the works referred to in the act.
Nigeria is a signatory to the Universal Copyright Convention 1952, the Berne Conventions 1886 and 1971 for the protection of rights in literary, musical and artistic works and the Rome Convention 1961 for the protection of performers, producers of phonogram and broadcasting organisations.
Administration of copyright
The Nigerian Copyright Council is the statutory body charged with the administration of all copyright matters in Nigeria. The council runs seminars and workshops to educate the general public and authors on copyright. Its functions include regulating conditions for the conclusion of bilateral and multilateral agreements between Nigeria and other countries, and maintaining an effective database on authors and their works. The council also issues certificates of notification to copyright owners that notify it of their rights in the work.
The council, with the consent of the minister, has the power to make regulations specifying the conditions necessary for the operation of a business involving the production, public exhibition, hiring or rental of any work in which copyright subsists.
One of the council’s most notable achievements was the launch of a national anti-piracy campaign in 1991. In addition, the council, in conjunction with rights holders, occasionally conducts raids on markets and warehouses and publicly destroys seized goods as a deterrent.
Infringement of copyright
Under Section 15 of the Copyright Act, copyright is infringed by any person who, without the licence or authorisation of the copyright owner:
• carries out, or causes any other person to carry out, an act that is controlled by copyright;
• imports or causes to be imported into Nigeria any copy of a work that, if it had been made in Nigeria, would be an infringing copy under this section of the Copyright Act;
• exhibits in public any article in respect of which copyright is infringed under the first bullet point above;
• distributes by way of trade, offers for sale, hire or otherwise or for any purpose prejudicial to the copyright owner any article in respect of which copyright is infringed under the first bullet point above;
• makes or has in its possession plates, master tapes, machines, equipment or contrivances used for the purpose of making infringing copies of the work;
• permits a place of public entertainment or business to be used for a public performance of the work where the performance constitutes copyright infringement, unless the person permitting the place to be used for the performance was not aware, and had no reasonable grounds to suspect, that the performance would be an infringement of copyright; or
• performs or causes to be performed, for the purposes of trade or business or as a supporting facility to trade or business, any work in which copyright subsists.
Action for infringement
An action for infringement of copyright is provided for under Section 16 of the Copyright