From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate has passed for second reading, a Bill which seeks to strengthen the copyrights administration and to provide penalties to serve as deterrent.
The Bill, tagged: “Copyright Act repeal and re-enactment Bill, 2021,” was sponsored by Mukhail Abiru, seeks holistic review of the policy and legal framework for copyright protection in Nigeria.
Abiru, in his lead debate, said the Bill seeks, among others, to bring the Copyright Act in tandem with current realities.
He said: “To strengthen the copyright regime in Nigeria to enhance the competitiveness of its creative industries in a digital and knowledge-based global economy.
“Effectively protect the rights of authors to ensure just rewards and recognition for their intellectual efforts while also providing appropriate limitations and exceptions to guarantee access to creative works, encourage cultural interchange and advance public welfare.
“Facilitate Nigeria’s compliance with obligations arising from relevant international copyright treaties; and
“Enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Copyright Commission for effective administration and enforcement of the provisions of the Copyright Act.”
He said the amendments being sought would make the law more friendly, offer a dispute resolution mechanism, increase the penalties for copyright infringement and make online/digital reproduction an infringement.
He said the amendment would expand the bundle of rights of copyright holders, make dealing in equipment that circumvent anti-copying technology an offence and expand customs notice prohibition against the importation of infringing copies of literary, dramatic and musical works to infringing copies of all other works.