Federal Government plans stiffer penalties for copyright violators

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Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), John Asein, has stated that the federal government was reviewing the country’s Copyright Act and is proposing stiffer penalties for violators.

A draft bill was initially introduced to the public sometime in February 2015. Following extensive review by a team of experts, the bill, said to be in line with the global standard, was presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval at the time.

In 2018, a draft for the Copyright Act presented to the FEC by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), was considered and approved.

This current bill, according to Mr Asein, “Is to strengthen the enforcement mechanism for copyright violations through stiffer penalties and more effective procedures best suited to the digital environment and also aimed at examining the copyright system in Nigeria.”

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Crafted to protect the right of authors and ensure there is just rewards and recognition for their work, the bill is a product of years of consultation with local and international experts, industry practitioners, stakeholders and copyright owners.

Other issues addressed in the new bill are special recognition for the visually impaired and print disabled persons, right of remuneration for copyright owners, provision against circumvention of technological protection measures, elaborate enforcement mechanism for online infringement, and many other issues. The bill also has provision for addressing Nigeria’s outstanding obligations under international copyright treaties.

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