The Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, 6th of April, 2022, passed a bill which is intended to holistically review the Nigerian copyright Law and make it an offence to broadcast any digital or online work of a person without obtaining their consent first. This proposed review is intended to strengthen the Nigerian Copyright Laws, and make it compliant with global best practices.
The bill is tagged: "A Bill For An Act To Repeal The Copyright Act CAP LFN 2004 And To Re-enact The Copyright Act 2021". The bill was sponsred by Senator Muhkhail Abiru, who represents the Lagos East. The framework of the bill is intended to cover audio, visual and audio-visual works by performers posted on Facebok, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter or any other online platform.
In his presentation, Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkai (Gombe North), who is the co-chair of the Joint Committee, said the bill essentially seeks to strengthen the copyright regime in Nigeria to enhance the competitiveness of its creative industries in a digital and knowledge-based global economy. He further stated that the re-enactment of the bill would effectively protect the rights of authors and creatives to ensure appropriate rewards and recognition for their intellectual efforts. He stated that when the bill is finally signed into law by the President, the new law would facilitate Nigeria's compliance with obligations and duties which stem from international copyright treaties, and further enhance the Nigerian Copyright Commission's capacity for the effective enforcement of the provisions of the Copyright Act.
Clause 65 of the bill states that, "In the absence of an express agreement ot the contrary, a performer's consent to the broadcasting of his performance shall be deemed to include his consent to an authorised rebroadcasting of his performance, the fixation of his performance for broadcasting purposes and the reproduction for broadcasting purposes of such fixation".
In clause 73, the bill provides for a fine of not less than N100,000 for an individual, or to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year, or both. It further imposes a fine of not less than N2 million naira where criminal liability arises in respect of infrigement of the rights of a performer.
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