Senate Moves Against Piracy, Seeks Stiffer Punishment for Copyright Violators

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The Senate on Tuesday commenced amendment of Nigeria’s copyright laws in a direction that seeks stiffer punishment for violators and persons involved in piracy.

The move to amend the country’s copyright laws followed the consideration of a bill to that effect which seeks to repeal and re-enact the Copyright Act 2004.

The bill ,which scaled second reading during plenary, is sponsored by Senator Abiru Mukhail Adetokunbo (APC, Lagos East).

Leading the debate on the general principles of the Copyright (Repeal and are-enactment) Bill 2021, Adetokunbo  said the legislation under consideration seeks a holistic review of the policy and legal framework for copyright protection in Nigeria.

According to the lawmaker, creative industries such as Nollywood, the broadcasting and music industry, the fashion industry, the book publishing industry, the art industry, and Nigeria’s emerging software and Apps industry, have been emaciated by what he described as “a weak” Copyright Act, 1988 (as amended).

“Many Nigerian businesses have disappeared and many Nigerian creators have died because of the harm occasioned by piracy and the weak mechanisms offered by the existing legal framework and successive government’s inability to sufficiently fund the Nigerian Copyright Commission”, Adetokunbo said.

He explained that stakeholders in the Nigerian copyright community have called for the amendment of the copyright law in line with new technologies and penalties.

The lawmaker observed that despite stakeholders’ demand, there has been no follow up action in terms of amendments to the Copyright Act 1988 which was promulgated in 1999, under the military regime more than twenty-two years ago.

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