Bill to strengthen Nigeria's copyright regime passes 2nd reading in Senate

A joint committee will report back on the bill in four weeks.

Nigerian senators [Tope Brown]

A bill seeking to strengthen the country's copyright regime to enhance the competitiveness of its creative industries in a digital and knowledge-based global economy has passed second reading in the Senate.

This followed the presentation of the lead debate by the sponsor, Sen. Mukhail Abiru (APC-Lagos East), during Tuesday's plenary.

The Bill is titled "The Copyright Act Repeal and Re-Enactment Bill, 2021".

Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Abiru noted that the Bill was read the first time on Tuesday, May 4, and had sought to bring the law in tandem with current realities.

Abiru said the Bill would among other things effectively protect the rights of authors to ensure just rewards and recognition for their intellectual efforts.

"It will also provide appropriate limitations and exceptions to guarantee access to creative works, encourage cultural interchange and advance public welfare.

"(It will) facilitate Nigeria’s compliance with obligations arising from relevant international copyright treaties."

The lawmaker further said that the Bill if passed would enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Copyright Commission for effective administration and enforcement of the provisions of the Copyright Act.

"In furtherance of the above objectives, the bill makes some new provisions which were not captured in the principal Act.

"These include among other things provisions to make the law more friendly, for example, use of the term audiovisual works which accommodates today's technology, more than the term cinematograph films," he said.

Supporting the debate, Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi said, "I'm convinced that this amendment will align us to global best practices.

"It will, therefore, open more space for people who are interested in partnering our young minds to do so because they know the law that is going to protect their investment," Abdullahi said.

President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan thereafter referred the Bill to the joint committee on Trade and Investment and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report back in four weeks.


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