What You Need To Know About The Copyright Law In Nigeria

Registering a Copyright 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 with the sole and exclusive privilege of reproducing copies of the work, publishing or selling it.

A copyright protects the creator of a work by conferring exclusive right to the use of a work on the creator or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.

In Nigeria, copyright is regulated by the Copyright Act (the “Act”) . Section 1(1) of the Act, states that the following works shall be eligible for protection:

(a) literary works;

(b) musical works;

© artistic works;

(d) cinematographic films;

(e) sound recordings and

(f) broadcasts.

A work created which does not fall under the foregoing categorisation cannot vest copyright in its creator. Furthermore, a work would be eligible for legal protection if sufficient effort has been expended on making the work to give it an original character and fixed in a definite medium of expression now known or later to be developed, from which it can be perceived, reproduced or communicated directly with the aid of any machine or device.

Section 2(1) of the Act provides that a copyright would be conferred on every work eligible for copyright of which the author is either a citizen or domiciled in Nigeria and a body corporate incorporated under the laws of Nigeria.

It is pertinent to note that registration of a copyright is not a precondition for protection. A work that is eligible for copyright doesnot need to be registered for it to enjoy legal protection. An eligible work enjoys protection immediately it is created and fixed in a definite medium.

The rights enjoyed by the owner of a copyright is limited. Section 2 of the Act states that the duration of an author’s copyright on sound-recording, cinematograph film and broadcast is fifty years from the year the work was published while a literary, musical or artistic work other than a photograph, the author enjoys copyright throughout his lifetime and for 70 years after his death.

In Nigeria, the body charged with the enforcement and protection of a copyright is the Nigerian Copyright Commission ( the “ Commission ”). The Commission as part of its statutory mandate to maintain an effective databank on authors and their works has established a voluntary copyright registration scheme designed to enable authors notify the Commission of the creation and existence of a work.

The process for registration of copyright is as follows:

Step 1: Application for Copyright Registration

Comment : Every application for copyright registration can be made online or through physical submission at the Commission’s office nationwide.

Step 2 : Online Application for Copyright Registration

Comment: The online application shall be made through the Nigerian Copyright e-Registration System and the procedure is as follows:

click on copyright registration;

click on create an account;

fill the account creation form which is divided into four sections namely personal details, address details, contact details and login details. The information required to be filled on the form includes an applicant’s title, firstname, lastname, middlename, address, country, state, city/town, postalcode, telephone number, mobile number, email address, login username and password;

an email notification would be sent to the applicant’s email address with the relevant login details and activation link which enables an applicant log on to the registration portal;

after the account is created, an applicant can log on to the web portal and click on register a new work on the dashboard of the portal. A drop down menu indicating the various sections of the registration form will be shown;

there are eleven sections to be completed in the form. An applicant should complete the appropriate sections and click on save and next to continue;

the form can be saved and completed at a later date and all fields with an asterisk must be completed. At the right hand side of each section there are quick tips on how to complete the section;

the information needed to complete the section include:

an applicant status;

contact information, address, telephone and email address;

type of work;

title of work;

the medium of fixation;

year of creation;

if the work has been published, state the year of publication and the country where the publication first took place;

certificate pickup location and

a declaration that the information entered is true and correct.

Step 3: Payment Method

Comment: A copyright registration fee must be paid for every copyright registration application. Payment can be through credit or debit card, bank deposit and purchase of scratch card from any of the Commission’s office. Payment can be in Nigerian naira or the United States of America dollars.

Step 4: Physical submission of a Copright Application for Registration

Comment: An application form for copyright registration can be obtained from the commission office nationwide. The application form should be submitted to the Commission and shall be accompanied by:

two copies of the work and

evidence of payment of prescribed fees.

Step 5: Registration Duration

Comment: All applications are processed within sixty (60) days of submission subject to delay arising from delay in making payment, errors or omissions and rectification of any query.

Step 6: Status of an Application for Copyright Registration

Comment : An application may either be queried, pending or approved. Where an application is queried, an applicant can respond to the query via their account by clicking on the pending application folder or the question mark on the dashboard.

Step 7: Issuance of Certificate of Copyright

Comment: After an application is approved a certificate of registration is issued.

Steps Procedure Statutory Fee
1 Copyright Registration Fee N10,000.00
2 Corrections and Changes in Submitted Data N5,000.00
3 Issuance of Certified True Copy of Certificate N5,000.00

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Thank you @AzmonPartners, this is really helpful!

Does this offer international protection for copyrighted materials?

Also, is the process similar for trademark registration?