Berkeley Legal | LEGAL REMEDIES FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN NIGERIA
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11 Jan LEGAL REMEDIES FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IN NIGERIA

Copyright is an exclusive legal right granted to the creator of a piece of work or art, typically to print, produce and publish that material. Copyright protection extends to a wide range of works, including literary, musical, and artistic works, as well as cinematography films, sound, recordings, and broadcasts.

Copyright law grants the creator(s) of an original work exclusive rights to use and duplicate the relevant material, for a specific period of time after which the copyrighted item becomes available to the public without any restriction.

The principal law governing copyright in Nigeria is the Copyright Act C28 Laws of the Federation 2004 (the “Act”) and the regulatory agency that deals with copyright matter is the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC).

The legal remedies available to the owner of an infringed copyright are set out in brief below. It is however, important to note that the legal remedies are only applicable to registered owner of a copyright or persons deriving any right, title or interest from the owner.

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Infringement of any copyrighted work simply implies any act which is done without the owner’s permission or authorization. A copyright owner has the exclusive right to perform certain acts in relation to the work, and the copyright is infringed when someone else uses the work without the owner’s permission. These unauthorized acts are listed and governed by Section 14(1)(a)-(g) of the Act.

When a copyright is violated, the owner has several alternatives for enforcing his/her rights. The burden of proofing this, however, is on the party claiming exclusive ownership of such right.

REMEDIES IN COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

The Act provides owners with a civil and criminal right of action to sue for any infringement of the copyright. The Federal High Court of Nigeria has the exclusive jurisdiction on copyright infringement-related cases.
The owner whose right has been violated may seek and be granted the following remedies:

CIVIL REMEDIES

• Conversion rights
The Act provides that “all infringement copies of works copyright subsist, or of any substantial part thereof, shall be deemed to be the property of the original author or owner”. Therefore, the owner may seek the order of the court for conversion of the infringement of such copyright materials to become the property of the original owner.

• Interlocutory Injunctions
There are several injunctions which the court can grant in favour of a claimant, such as, interim, interlocutory or a perpetual injunction.
However, it should be noted that an interlocutory injunction is one of the most common remedy accessible to the owner in the event of copyright infringement of his original work. It is granted before the trial and only lasts until the trial or it can be made permanent. The purpose of an interlocutory injunction is to provide urgent and temporary relief to the claimant from any continuing violation of his/her rights.

• Anton pillar Injunction
This remedy is granted to enable the owner of the copyright permission to search the infringer’s home and seize any items or merchandise without the prior notification of the infringer. The essence of this is to discover and preserve evidence where the infringer is likely to remove or destroy such evidence.

• Monetary Remedies for damages
This is a type of remedy where the owner of the written work has the right to claim profits from the infringer’s illegal action, as well as compensation for damages for the loss suffered as a result of the infringement. However, the owner must prove extreme damages to the satisfaction of the court before this claim can be considered.

CRIMINAL LIABILITY

Infringement of copyright is also a criminal offense, punishable by a fine and a period of imprisonment. The National Copyright Commission (NCC) is usually the prosecutor in such cases. The fact that a criminal action has been brought against the infringer, on the other hand, does not preclude the copyright owner from instituting a civil action against the infringer.

CONCLUSION

In order to protect a work of art, it is critical to register it with the appropriate body. Our copyright lawyers will be glad to advise you in documenting your ownership rights and assessing your legal claims in the event that your rights are violated.

 

The information provided in this snippet is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require specific legal advice on any of the matters covered in this snippet, please contact info@berkeleylegal.com.ng