10/15/20212 min read


Intellectual property is a phenonmenon in Nigeria, however what does this mean and what does it entail?

Intellectual property is simply the creation of the human mind. It is the intangible property of human creation. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions; literary and artistIntellectualic works; and symbols, names, and images used in commerce.

In Nigeria, a number of laws have a bearing on the protection and administration of the different rights that make up intellectual property. However, the three main statutes governing the intellectual property Law in Nigeria are the Copyright Act, the Patents and Designs Act, and the Trademarks Act. However, we would be focusing on copyright.

Copyright is the exclusive rights granted to the creator of an original work. It also simply means the right to copy. Copyright gives the owner the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit certain uses of his work by others. Copyright and related rights are governed by the Copyright Act Cap 68 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

The body responsible for matters concerning copyright and related rights in Nigeria is the Nigerian Copyright Commission. Exclusive rights of copyright are divided into two; moral rights which protects the reputation and the integrity of the author and economic rights which gives the author the right to earn profit by direct or indirect exploitation of a work.

Section 1(1) of the Copyright Act provides for works protected by copyright which include; (a) Literary works (b) Musical works (c) Artistic works (d) Cinematograph films (e) Sound recordings (f) Broadcasts It is important to note that copyright does not protect ideas unless it original and fixed. According to section 1(2), a literary, musical or artistic work must satisfy the twin requirements of originality and fixation.

Works that satisfy these requirements enjoy automatic copyright protection, without the need for registration or compliance with any formal or procedural rules. However, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) provides owners of copyrights the option to deposit a copy of their works with the NCC and receive a certificate which serves as notification of the existence of the work to the general public.

Related or Neighboring Rights

Neighboring rights involve creativity which falls short of the fixation requirements and do not, therefore, qualify for copyright protection. These are generally, rights of individuals who assist intellectual creators (like musicians) to communicate their message and to disseminate their works to the public. There are basically two neighboring-rights statutorily recognized in Nigeria, these are the performance rights and rights to the expression of folklore.


Duration of Copyright and Related rights

Copyright in literary, musical or artistic works other than photographs lasts until seventy (70) years following the death of the author. In cases where the work is owned by a government or a body corporate, the copyright in the literary, musical or artistic work will expire seventy (70) years after the work was first published. Copyright in films and photographs lasts 50 years after the year the work was first published. Copyright in sound recordings also lasts 50 years after the recording was first published. Performance rights subsist until the end of the period of fifty years from the end of the year in which the performance first took place.Copyright works are protected once it’s fixed in a definite medium and original.