COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN NIGERIA AND CHALLENGES IN A DIGITAL WORLD
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
It is a known fact that the greatest heritage of a nation remains the creativity of its citizens, and therefore one of the primary functions of law enforcement agents and other appropriate authorities is to protect the ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation of the citizenry. However, Nigeria has joined the league of nations that have enacted domestic legislations to protect the copyrights and creativity of its citizens against any undue infringement. The principal legislation in this regard is the Nigerian Copyright Act, which is hinged on the fact that any copyright infringement is stealing (Thomson, 2009).
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the world has continued to experience astronomical advancement in scientific and technological innovations which have changed the face of modern society, leading many thinkers to term this present civilization ‘the jet age’ (Ajirere, 2008). This technological advancement has had enormous impact on the world’s copyright enforcement authorities and the legal systems in general, disrupting traditional modes of protection of intellectual property, and has left the law completely in a state of flux, literally gasping to catch pace with the ever changing forms of innovations (Ethan, 1992). In Nigeria, the life of every average citizen now revolves around one or more of these technologies, such as computers including palmtops and hi-tech phones, satellite and cable receivers/signals, facsimile transmissions and the perpetually growing internet (Ayemi, 2010).
Over the years, since the country achieved independence, Nigeria has benefited immensely from the magnanimity of copyright related products. Section 1(1) of the Copyright Act provides protection and confers copyright status on the following innovative products: literary works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph films, sound recordings, and broadcasts. The spectrum of these products implicitly covers digital innovations like computer software, satellite and cable broadcasts, and reprographic transmissions. Thus, as at 2008, the totality of copyright based industries operating in the country contributed just about N1.2 trillion to the Nigeria gross domestic income, a figure publicly made known by the authorities during the 50th anniversary of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (Ayemi, 2010).
Notwithstanding the above, and especially the enormous benefits which the country has derived from copyright related products, Nigeria still remains the largest piracy destination and market in the world invariably in the same products ostensibly protected by the Copyright Act, particularly computer software. This is due to a number of factors, essentially bordering on the obsolescence and inability of the Act to meet contemporary challenges in the protection of copyrights of particularly new genres of innovations within the above broadly provided products. Also, though Nigeria is signatory to various international conventions on copyright protection, these conventions are hardly enforceable in Nigeria owing to the fact that they have not been domesticated.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is an indisputable fact that copyright is a monopoly of limited duration, but unlike most monopoly, it is a legitimate monopoly created by the law and enjoyed by the author of an original work. However, digital technology in the varied forms known to us today was not expressly contemplated for protection under the Nigerian Copyright Act; most of the new digital innovations can be accommodated in some form under the copyright Act if they approximately fall under any of the intellectual property of individuals protected under the Copyright Act. For instance, take satellite and cable broadcast and computer software, how would certain digital products derived from these innovative technologies relate to the protected categories under the copyright Act. This necessitated this study on the copyright infringement in Nigeria and challenges in a digital world.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the spate of copyright infringement in Nigeria.
- To identify the challenges of copyright infringement in a digital world.
- To determine how copyright infringement can be handled considering digital technology.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the spate of copyright infringement in Nigeria?
- What are the challenges of copyright infringement in a digital world?
- How can copyright infringement be handled considering digital technology?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The outcome of this study will sensitize the government, the law enforcement agents, authors of intellectual properties and the general public on the spate of copyright infringement in Nigeria considering the advent of digital technology with a view of finding a lasting solution to the issues.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the copyright infringement in Nigeria and challenges in Digital world will cover issues of piracy and copyright violation in Nigeria considering the challenges of digital technology which has made piracy and copyright infringement difficult to tackle.
LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Ajirere T. (2008). “The Anniversary of the Nigerian Copyright” available at URL://http://www.ndunigeriadailynews. com
Ayemi Ayo, (2010) “Why Legal Framework for Broadcasting Industry may be Strengthened Now”, available at: URL: http://www.allafrica.com/12009…html.
Ethan drone (1992). A Treatise on the Law of Property in Intellectual Productions, (2nd ed. London, Butterworths publishers, 1992), p.44
Wikipedia the free encyclopedia “Meaning of Copyright” [WWW document], available at: URL: http://www.wikipedia.org.wiki-copyright (visited 30th March, 2015).
Thomson Reuters, “Introduction of Copyright”, (created 2009), [WWW document], available at: URL: http://www.findlaw.com/copyright/8456/html.