26 January 2013

Nigeria: FG Told to Enforce Intellectual Property Law

Some lawyers in Lagos have told the Federal Government to enforce the country's intellectual property law to protect creative outputs of individuals.

The lawyers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, said that the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) should do more in protecting intellectual property rights of citizens.

Copyright law guides and protects the intellectual property works of individuals from being reproduced by others.

The lawyers called on the NCC to put in place a mechanism for proper enforcement of copyright laws.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Mrs Kemi Ajayi, said that a major aspect of intellectual property constantly abused was the copyright, which had to do with literary and artistic works.

She said that "if a check is not placed on the infringement of intellectual property, there will be a major drawback on creativity and invention".

According to Ajayi, Nigeria, like other developing nations is facing challenges associated with the implementation of copyright laws

She said that in developed countries, most intellectual works were internet-based and not largely available for plagiarism.

"In Nigeria, people's works are replicated without caution by various individuals."

She added that the infringement on such rights of individuals was not properly addressed by the NCC, resulting to flagrant abuse.

Ajayi urged government to ensure adequate protection of intellectual property rights of individuals to foster confidence in creativity.

Another Lagos-based lawyer, Mr George Ogbolu, said that if Nigeria had attained a higher level of technology, cases of copyright infringement would be reduced.

Ogbolu said that a major oncern of the commission should be in the area of strengthening copyright laws in the country.

He said that protection of intellectual properties would enable the owners to derive maximum benefit from the products of their creativity.

Ogbolu observed that lip-service had continuously been paid to copyright laws in the country.

He said that an appropriate legal framework should be put in place to cushion the wanton infringement on copyright laws.

Mr Joshua Ibeka, a lawyer and member of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said that copyright laws should be reviewed to create stringent penalties for plagiarism.

He said that most literary works of writers were frequently plagiarised by unscrupulous elements, adding that

"the individuals go scot-free, while the authors wallow in penury".

Ibeka suggested prompt action by the NCC to work out modalities in ensuring that intellectual property of individuals would be guided to avoid abuse.

He advised government to establish an Intellectual Property Commission to bring the copyright system under a single authority and make enforcement of copyright laws more effective.


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