FG Says Copyright Laws Inadequate

Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, says Nigeria’s existing copyright laws are inadequate to effectively address emerging challenges of copyright infringement.

He said this at the opening of a stakeholders and right owners’ forum organised by the Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC) recently in Enugu.

Malami, who was represented by an Assistant Director in Department of Legal Drafting in the ministry, Mr Godwin Iheabunike, said piracy could only be properly checked with adequate laws.

``The current Copyright Act which was enacted before the incursion of information technology and digital platforms is now grossly inadequate to address the emerging trends in copyright protection and enforcement.

``The penalties provided by the law for both civil and criminal violations of rights of creators must be reviewed in order to discourage illegal dealings in creative contents and for deterrence,’’ he stated.

According to him, piracy remains a cankerworm that must be exorcised from Nigeria in order to give room for growth of the creative industry.

He pledged his ministry’s support in ensuring that NCC’s reform efforts were given appropriate attention and priority.

``Since the Nigerian Copyright Commission is already taking a positive step toward reforming the copyright system, all necessary support will be given to it.

``I encourage practitioners in the creative industry to partner with the commission and indeed the Federal Government in bringing the needed change to this important sector,’’ he said.

Also speaking, the Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr Afam Ezekude, said that the forum was to get stakeholders input and garner support for its anti-piracy campaign.

``The commission is striving to build copyright systems that will fast track national economic development.

`Pirated items will soon become alien to the Nigerian market and right owners will have full benefit of their labour,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the commission is saddled with the responsibility of advancing the growth of the creative industry in Nigeria.

This is through the dissemination of copyright knowledge, efficient administration and protection of rights.