In this article, we shall learn about how to register for copyright protection in Nigeria and the cost of registering for copyright in the country as well as other information that will help you understand what it means to protect your intellectual property as regards this subject matter.
WHAT IS A COPYRIGHT?
A copyright is a legal right granted to the creator of an original work, giving him/her the exclusive right for a fixed number of years to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.
It gives exclusive rights to an author who may be an artist/sculptor, writer, publisher, musician, performer, photographer, architect or film maker, to make use of his original works for a certain number of years without third party infringement but it should be noted that these rights are not absolute and are subject to some limitations.
For the avoidance of doubt, the ownership of copyright is bestowed upon the creator of a copyright work, usually referred to as the author of the work. This means that the author is the owner of the copyright in their original work. However, the author is free to transfer his rights to a third party. Where this has happened, the third party who has obtained the exclusive rights by transfer or other legal means becomes the owner of copyright.
Copyright in Nigeria is regulated by the Copyright Act, and the agency in charge of the enforcement and protection of copyright in the country is the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
WHAT WORKS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR COPYRIGHT PROTECTION IN NIGERIA?
It should be noted that copyright registration is different from patent registration and trademark registration. This is because both aforementioned intellectual property registrations in Nigeria deal with original inventions and brands but copyright protection deals with original creations which are peculiar to the literary and artistic fields fixed in medium from which they can be reproduced or communicated.
Works that can be protected by copyright include the following:
- Artistic Works such as visual art paintings, drawings, pictures, works of architecture, sculpture, craftsmanship, to mention but a few.
- Sound Recording.
- Literary Works.
- Musical Works.
- Cinematography Works.
- Literary works;
It should be noted however, that titles, ideas, concepts, procedures, methods or other similar things are not protected by copyright.
Once again, for a work to qualify for protection by copyright, it must be original, and must be in a form in which it can be expressed such as in writing, painting, musical recording, to mention but a few. As such, you cannot protect by copyright something in your mind that has never been expressed. The pillars on which copyright protection is hinged are originality and expression.
Each work should have its own copyright registration but sometimes, an author may register a collection of his/her works on one copyright with one title for the whole collection, such as in the case of a music album with several songs.
COST OF COPYRIGHT PROTECTION IN NIGERIA
According to the official website of the Nigerian Communications Commission, the cost of registering for copyright in Nigeria is ₦10,000 or $60 for those who are registering from outside Nigeria.
Other fees include the following:
- Issuance of certified true copy of certificate: ₦5,000 or $30
- Issuance of certified true copy of form: ₦5,000 or $30
- Corrections and changes in submitted data: ₦5,000 or $30
- Issuance of certified true copy of a work (Paper based only): Works below 50 pages cost ₦5,000 or $30, works from 51-100 pages cost ₦7500 or $40, works from 101-200 pages cost ₦10,000 or $60, while the amount for works above 201 pages is ₦15,000 or $90 for those paying from outside Nigeria.
HOW TO REGISTER FOR COPYRIGHT PROTECTION IN NIGERIA
In order to register for copyright protection in Nigeria, physical submission, can be done directly through an agent for registration to any branch of the Nigerian Copyright Commission’s office nationwide. Documents to be submitted to the Commission include a completed registration form along with copies of your original work, and evidence of payment of the prescribed fee.
Kindly note that registering for copyright is not a precondition for protection of your work. You actually do not have to register your copyright as it automatically effective from the moment your work is created.
Still, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has established a voluntary copyright registration scheme which allows authors and right owners to notify the Commission of the creation and existence of their original works.
The NCC justifies the establishment of this voluntary copyright scheme based on the benefits below:
- It provides an independent source of verifying data relating to a work or its author to the general public.
- The acknowledgement certificate issued provides prima facie evidence of the facts shown on it.
- It provides a depository for preserving original copies of works notified.
- The information and data contained in the Notification data base offers reliable rights management information to members of the public and prospective licensees to the work.
DURATION OF COPYRIGHT PROTECTION IN NIGERIA
The author of a work does not enjoy copyrights indefinitely and as such his or her exclusive rights are limited for a certain number of years. Copyright is enjoyed throughout the author’s lifetime and for seventy (70) years after his or her death.
In the case of sound recordings, films and performances to mention but a few, the owner of the work enjoys copyright protection for fifty (50) years from the time the work was first published. The work can be publicly used when the copyright protection expires and as such, third parties are allowed to freely use it.
INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT IN NIGERIA
Copyright owners whose original works have been infringed upon may demand that whoever infringes their copyrights stop the act with immediate effect, that the person infringing their works deliver to them all original and copies of the infringed work and pay compensation for use of their work without consent.
They may also request that the person or persons infringing their work enter into an agreement with them for use of such works in the future but if the person infringing the work snubs the owner after being notified of the infringement or refuses to adequately compensate the owner for use of his or her work, the owner may take legal action at the Federal High Court where the contravention occurred, seeking damages for infringement of his copyrights and injunction restraining the infringing party from continuing his acts of infringement.