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  1. FORMER Head of State, General Yakubu Goworn, rtd.; Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN and Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta, have variously called for an urgent reform of Nigeria’s copyright system to reposition it for effective development and protection of the creative industries in line with the challenges of modern information technology and the global knowledge economy.

    In his opening remarks at the official launch of the Reform of the Copyright System in Nigeria, organised by Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in Abuja on November 8, 2012, the former Head of State underscored the need to build a virile
    copyright system that would ensure that local and foreign based creators and innovators reap a just reward for their investment of talent and energies.
    “Investors in the creative sector also deserve the assurance that their investment would be secure in Nigeria, as in many other parts of the world that are presently leveraging on their creative resources”, he stated.

    General Gowon pointed out that the need for the protection of creative resources was an international issue which placed an obligation on Nigeria and other civilized nations under the global trading system of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to demonstrate clear commitment to enforcement of intellectual property (IP), including copyright.

    Noting that the first indigenous copyright statute, Copyright Decree of 1970, was promulgated under his government, the former Head of State observed that Nigeria was not only blessed with creativity as a unifying activity and common ethos, the country was also a highly creative society endowed with creative talents across its ethnic, geographical, social and economic strata.

    General Gowon who stressed that no one should be allowed to steal the creative works of another or reap the benefits of another person’s hard work, noted that the creative industries have contributed immensely to the nation’s economic development, providing employment to the teeming population of youths across the country.

    While calling for the building of structures to promote and protect “this important sector to secure a bright future for the present and future generations, the former Head of State noted that “in the emerging global economic order, driven by innovation and knowledge based goods; the relevance of copyright protection has become crucial to development of nations”.

    In a keynote address on “Protecting Creativity for Enhanced Economic Growth”, the Lagos State Governor, represented by the state’s Solicitor-General, Mr. Pedro Lawal, called for stakeholders’ support for NCC’s initiative to reform the country’s copyright system to address the inadequacy of intellectual property policy and law to ensure adequate protection of IP rights in line with international best practice.

    Governor Fashola, SAN, called on the Commission to engender proactive enforcement of the Copyright Act and its urgent review for more stringent penalties for infringement to ensure effective check of piracy in the country.

    The Governor expressed concern and called for a review of the constitutional restriction of jurisdiction for adjudication of IP/copyright matters to the Federal High Court in the first instance, which, he noted, has overburdened the court such that it could not dispose of copyright and other IP cases speedily.

    In his remarks, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, called for a reform of the copyright legal system to address new forms of infringement in digital environments like the Internet as well as provide for penalties that are more deterrent in line with the objective of the criminal justice system.

    Justice Auta specifically called for a review of Section 24 of the Copyright Act 2004 which allowed both criminal and civil actions against the same copyright infringement and Section 43 of the Act, among others.

    While urging the Commission to embark on sensitisation of copyright owners on their rights and public awareness on the need for respect for creativity, the Chief Judge noted the need for urgent capacity building for enforcement officers as well as judges and lawyers involved in the adjudication of copyright cases in order to fully realize the gains of the copyright system in the country.

    The Chairman, General Gowon inaugurated the Reform Advisory Committee comprising the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; former Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Frank Nweke, Jnr.; Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule; Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Ben Angwe; and Mr. Jahman Anikulapo Kuti of THE GUARDIAN Newspapers.

    Two members of the EWG, Prof. Olufunmilayo Arewa, a Professor of Law from University of California, Irvine, USA and Prof. Ruth Okediji, Professor of Law, University of Minnesota, USA, made separate presentations on the Copyright Reform Roadmap.

    The NCC Inaugural Eminent Copyright Award to Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, was received on his behalf by General Gowon from the Commission’s Director-General, Mr. Ezekude, who noted that the award was conferred on Prof. Soyinka “for a life time of distinction in the literary arts”.
    FORMER Head of State, General Yakubu Goworn, rtd.; Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN and Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta, have variously called for an urgent reform of Nigeria’s copyright system to reposition it for effective development and protection of the creative industries in line with the challenges of modern information technology and the global knowledge economy.

    In his opening remarks at the official launch of the Reform of the Copyright System in Nigeria, organised by Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in Abuja on November 8, 2012, the former Head of State underscored the need to build a virile
    copyright system that would ensure that local and foreign based creators and innovators reap a just reward for their investment of talent and energies.
    “Investors in the creative sector also deserve the assurance that their investment would be secure in Nigeria, as in many other parts of the world that are presently leveraging on their creative resources”, he stated.

    General Gowon pointed out that the need for the protection of creative resources was an international issue which placed an obligation on Nigeria and other civilized nations under the global trading system of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to demonstrate clear commitment to enforcement of intellectual property (IP), including copyright.

    Noting that the first indigenous copyright statute, Copyright Decree of 1970, was promulgated under his government, the former Head of State observed that Nigeria was not only blessed with creativity as a unifying activity and common ethos, the country was also a highly creative society endowed with creative talents across its ethnic, geographical, social and economic strata.

    General Gowon who stressed that no one should be allowed to steal the creative works of another or reap the benefits of another person’s hard work, noted that the creative industries have contributed immensely to the nation’s economic development, providing employment to the teeming population of youths across the country.

    While calling for the building of structures to promote and protect “this important sector to secure a bright future for the present and future generations, the former Head of State noted that “in the emerging global economic order, driven by innovation and knowledge based goods; the relevance of copyright protection has become crucial to development of nations”.

    In a keynote address on “Protecting Creativity for Enhanced Economic Growth”, the Lagos State Governor, represented by the state’s Solicitor-General, Mr. Pedro Lawal, called for stakeholders’ support for NCC’s initiative to reform the country’s copyright system to address the inadequacy of intellectual property policy and law to ensure adequate protection of IP rights in line with international best practice.

    Governor Fashola, SAN, called on the Commission to engender proactive enforcement of the Copyright Act and its urgent review for more stringent penalties for infringement to ensure effective check of piracy in the country.

    The Governor expressed concern and called for a review of the constitutional restriction of jurisdiction for adjudication of IP/copyright matters to the Federal High Court in the first instance, which, he noted, has overburdened the court such that it could not dispose of copyright and other IP cases speedily.

    In his remarks, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, called for a reform of the copyright legal system to address new forms of infringement in digital environments like the Internet as well as provide for penalties that are more deterrent in line with the objective of the criminal justice system.

    Justice Auta specifically called for a review of Section 24 of the Copyright Act 2004 which allowed both criminal and civil actions against the same copyright infringement and Section 43 of the Act, among others.

    While urging the Commission to embark on sensitisation of copyright owners on their rights and public awareness on the need for respect for creativity, the Chief Judge noted the need for urgent capacity building for enforcement officers as well as judges and lawyers involved in the adjudication of copyright cases in order to fully realize the gains of the copyright system in the country.

    The Chairman, General Gowon inaugurated the Reform Advisory Committee comprising the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; former Minister of Information and Communications, Mr. Frank Nweke, Jnr.; Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule; Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Ben Angwe; and Mr. Jahman Anikulapo Kuti of THE GUARDIAN Newspapers.

    Two members of the EWG, Prof. Olufunmilayo Arewa, a Professor of Law from University of California, Irvine, USA and Prof. Ruth Okediji, Professor of Law, University of Minnesota, USA, made separate presentations on the Copyright Reform Roadmap.

    The NCC Inaugural Eminent Copyright Award to Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, was received on his behalf by General Gowon from the Commission’s Director-General, Mr. Ezekude, who noted that the award was conferred on Prof. Soyinka “for a life time of distinction in the literary arts”.

    Posted by Oluwatoyin 'Adegoroye | November 24, 2012, 4:49 pm

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