How Does the Copyright Law Protect Me? Basic Facts You Should Know

the word "copyright" written on a chalkboard

The concepts of “creativity” and “creatives” have become more popular than they were a few years ago. These days, people run vlogs on YouTube, make funny skits on Instagram and Twitter, and even own podcast channels. Even music, design and photography have become more recognised than they used to be, with innovations springing up every day. The Arts and Fashion industries are not left out of the evolution as more individuals are venturing into it either as full-time jobs or as side hustles. 

With this evolution comes the challenge of protecting creative work from being stolen or copied without permission. This is why we’ve written this blog post, which is an exclusive creative work, to give you a simple guide to the Copyright Law and how it affects your work.  

What is Copyright?

Copyright has been defined by Black’s Law Dictionary (9th Edition) as a right granted to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions, whereby the creator is invested, for a limited period, with the sole and exclusive privilege of multiplying copies of the literary or artistic works and publishing or selling them. Copyright in Nigeria is generally protected by The Copyright Act Chapter C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (Copyright Act).

What does Copyright protect?

The best way to protect your work — be it a quote, a piece of art, a word, or design —  is to copyright it. This is as long as you can prove that said piece of work was created by you or is an original work done by you. Section 1(1) of the Copyright Act states that the following  are eligible to be protected:

  • Literary works
  • Musical works
  • Artistic works
  • Cinematographic films
  • Sound recordings
  • Broadcasts

How can you enjoy the Copyright Law?

The beautiful thing about copyright is that unlike every other form of intellectual property, you can enjoy its protection without registration. You enjoy it as soon as the work is created. However,  the advantage of the registration is that the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) allows owners of copyrights the option to deposit a copy of their works with the NCC and in turn receive a certificate which will serve as a notification of the existence of the work to the general public. Also, registration allows for the easy verification of data relating to a piece work or its author to the general public.

How does it protect your work?

Copyright protects other people from:  

  • Copying your work
  • Distributing copies of it, whether free of charge or for sale
  • Renting or lending copies of your work
  • Performing, showing or playing your work in public
  • Making an adaptation of your work
  • Putting it on the internet

In case you want to register your copyright, you need to complete a form along with two copies of the creative work.  You will also have to provide evidence of payment of the prescribed fee. Registration can be done online or physically at the NCC office. To register online with the NCC, click on this link – Register with NCC

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