Nigeria’s creative industries are capable of generating billions annually, granted that the proper administration, swift implementation and strict adherence to intellectual property rights are in position. This vast source of revenue remains unexploited by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), which is failing to effectively perform its role, according to a submission made by chairman of the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) and reggae artist, Mr. Orits Williki. He contended that the unsatisfactory implementation of the 2004 Copyright Act (“Act”) by the NCC is largely to blame for Nigeria’s poor copyright infrastructure.
“The subject of copyright and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) has dominated major discussions on the Nigerian creative landscape in the last one or two decades. It is no longer an issue whether or not Nigeria has viable legislation in place to protect IPR, particularly copyright, as the Copyright Act 2004 has proven to be potent enough to guarantee protection of copyright, if well implemented and adjudicated upon,” Williki stated.
In order for the industry to attain its full potential, the Act needs to be properly regulated, interpreted and implemented. Fairness and equity must be shown in the dealings of the NCC according to Williki, who believes that the NCC is misusing various sections of the Act – in particular Section 39 – to “unlawfully exclude” the MCSN from being granted a license as a collective society. However, with a Federal High Court nullifying the section and MCSN winning copyright infringement cases, Nigerian creative industries and its creators can begin to reap the benefits of the rich and vibrant sector.