Copyright Violation: Stakeholders Task NCC On Protection Of Intellectual Property

Panel of discussants at the event

Panel of discussants at the event

Stakeholders in the publishing and allied sectors have called for renewed efforts to curb wanton theft of intellectual property and violation of copyrights laws in Nigeria.

The experts made the request yesterday in Lagos at the 2015 commemoration of the International Archives Day organized by the Lagos State Records and Archives Bureau,(LASRAB).

The title of this year’s event was, “Copyright – Interpreting the Law for archives and allied institutions’.

Those in attendance were academics, copy rights experts, students of high institutions, art collectors and other concerned stakeholders.

In his keynote address, Barrister Chris Nkwocha, Zonal Director, Lagos Office Nigerian Copyright Commission while quoting NCC Act defined Copyright as, “ An exclusive bundle of rights that allows the owner of a work to use and exploit the work and also control the use and exploitation of such work by others”.

Nkwocha further listed benefits of copyrights owners to include; recognition as the author of the work , Enjoyment of benefits from the work, Freedom to use the work as he wants within legal confines, right to reproduce the work, assigning the work to others among others.

Contrary to the notion held by many people who do not have full grasp of the copyright law, the NCC boss also explained that materials that are achieved still have their copyright in force.

“These records and archives could belong to the public (Government), individuals or private bodies. The implication of this is that despite the fact that these records are within public domain , their access and use are subject to certain conditions maintained by the Bureau so as to regulate and control their use”, he explained.

The Special Guest of Honour, Mrs. Oluranti Odutola, Permanent Secretary, Mnistry of Information and Strategy, Lagos State commended LASRAB for  celebrating day noting that it was only Lagos State that commemorate the day through Nigeria.

She recalled that, “The International Archives Day (IAD) was declared at the congress of the International Council on Arcjives(ICA) held in Vienna, in 2004, as a day set aside for global community to appreciate and recognize the profession and noble contribution of archives and archivists to human existence and societal development”.

“Consistent with the innovative and trail blazing pattern of the state Government, the Lagos State Records and Archives Bureau (LASRAB) organized the first International Day in Nigeria on 9th June, 2011. Thus, Lagos State is the only state and LASRAB the first government institution in Nigeria to host and celebrate the IAD”.

A member of the panel of discussants, Dr. Oyedokun Oyewole, President / Chairman Governing Council, Institute of Information Management contended that there was need for more awareness of copyright laws urging the Government to better empower NCC in discharging its duties.

His words, “You will agree that awareness is not enough. There is need for more awareness to be created. The NCC should be more empowered to embark on several initiatives and ensure that the entire nation is covered. It is very disturbing to note that many people are not even aware about the existence of Nigerian Copyright Commission”.