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The Role of Copyright in The Protection of the Nigeria Entertainment Industry

The Role of Copyright in The Protection of the Nigeria Entertainment Industry.

Chudi Ojukwu[1]


The evolution of technology in the reproduction of art, particularly in the entertainment industry, has created an attractive tool for piracy; intellectual theft and unregulated reproduction of intellectual works have become effortless and less expensive; copyright theft; and reproduction of fake, sub-standard, and unlicensed products are on the upsurge. As technology and sophisticated gadgets improves, so do the challenges that come with it. And currently, one of the biggest problems confronting the Nigerian entertainment industry is centered on piracy. This ugly trend is not just unethical but also illegal under the Nigerian Copyright law to replicate or reproduce an artistic work in Nigeria belonging to another without the permission of the owner. Several arguments has made on this issue that it is hurting the entertainment industry by losing hug amount of revenue globally. As technology and sophisticated gadgets improves, so do the challenges that come with it. And currently, one of the biggest problems confronting the Nigerian entertainment industry is centered on piracy. This ugly trend is not just unethical but also illegal under the Nigerian Copyright law to replicate or reproduce an artistic work in Nigeria belonging to another without the permission of the owner. Thus copyright piracy is a global problem, although more prevalent in developing countries like Nigeria. Copyright piracy has been recognized worldwide as an enemy of creative arts, intellectualism, entertainment, and creativity. As a result, it is critical for the entertainment industry’s primary stakeholders to comprehend Copyright as a type of intellectual property law that protects creative works of authorship, such as poetry, books, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture, from copyright infringement.


The term “copyright” (or “author’s right”) refers to the legal rights that creators hold over their literary and artistic works. Books, music, art, sculpture, and films are among the works covered by copyright, as are computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps, and technical drawings. In the context of copyright, the term “work” refers to a wide range of intellectual creations, including literature, architecture, computer programs, entertainment, and so on.

Copyright refers to an author’s exclusive right and privileges to duplicate his or her creative work for a limited time. It’s crucial to remember, however, that not all works can be copyrighted; the legislation aims to protect authors’, artists’, composers’, music publishers’, cinematograph filmmakers’, photographers’, and other types of creative works in general, including but not limited to the entertainment industry.

Ideas, concepts, systems, or ways of doing something are not protected by copyright. You may represent your ideas in writing, drawings, or theatrical works and claim copyright in your description, but keep in mind that copyright will not protect the idea as revealed in your written or creative creation. When an author creates anything independently and with a minimum amount of ingenuity, it is said to be original. Simply put, independent invention entails developing anything without relying on others. A work must have a “spark” and a “modicum” of creativity, according to the Court of Appeal. Remember that copyright only protects expression, not ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, or inventions.


Copyright is “a property right in an original work of authorship (such as literary, musical, artistic, photographic or film work) fixed in any tangible medium of expression, giving the holder the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform and display the work”[2]Copyright is a significant source of revenue for any country.

It is an indisputable fact that copyright is a temporary monopoly, but unlike other monopolies, it is a legal monopoly granted by the law and enjoyed by the author of an original work. “…the right of a man to that which he had originally made… must be protected,” observed Belgore J in Oladipo Yemitan v The Daily Times Nigeria Ltd.

This protection should make it illegal to replicate or reproduce someone else’s work. Unlike works from the entertainment industries, however, emerging digital technology in its various forms was not explicitly contemplated for protection under the Nigerian Copyright Act; however, most new digital creations can be welcomed in some form under the Nigeria Copyright Act if they virtually fall under any of the intellectual property of individuals protected under the Nigeria Copyright Act. Consider how certain digital products developed from breakthrough technologies such as satellite and cable transmission and computer software might be related to the protected categories under the copyright act. Reports and research from around the world reveal that intellectual property infringement is a global problem that is wreaking havoc on various types of copyright works. This scenario can be found all over the place, posing a serious threat to the lives of artists and others in the creative sectors. Economic factors, such as high demand and expense of original products, unavailability of original products, and financial benefit, have been identified as causes of intellectual property violations. Copyright Protection provides a vital incentive for the creation of many intellectual works. Without copyright protection, it would be easy for others to manipulate these works without paying any royalties or remuneration to the owner of the work. Copyright, therefore, encourages enterprise and creates a favorable climate to stimulate economic activity.

Economic rights permit creators to govern the use of their literary and artistic material in a variety of ways, including creating copies, performing in public, broadcasting, and using it online, among other things, and to receive a fair financial recompense. As a result, creators can get compensated for their efforts.



Unlike other jurisdictions, there have been no specific laws regulating the Nigerian entertainment industry over the years; however, the laws governing intellectual property in Nigeria serve as the entertainment industry’s legal framework because all of the industry’s activities are intellectual property-related. These laws regulate television, music, art, advertisements, and other forms of entertainment and media.

These laws are:

  • The Copy Rights Act[3]
  • The Trade Marks Act[4]
  • Patents and Design Act[5]
  • Companies and Allied Matters Act[6]
  • Companies Income Tax Act[7]
  • Personal Income Tax Act[8]
  • Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999
  1. The Copyrights Act – The unique right provided to an innovator of creative work to use, publish, produce, and reproduce the work for a set period of time is known as copyright. The Copyright Act governs the protection, transfer, infringement, penalty, and recourse of authors’, songwriters’, music publishers’, cinematograph filmmakers’, photographers’, and other creative works in the media and entertainment industries. The copyright law in Nigeria provides for several categories and the duration of rights as it relates to the entertainment industry. First Schedule of the Copyright Act provides that:
  2. Copyright will be granted for 70 years following the end of the year in which the author dies in the event of literary, musical, or creative works (excluding pictures). When a body corporate creates a work, the copyright lasts for 70 years after the work is first published.
  3. In the case of cinematography, films, and pictures, the copyright will be valid for 50 years after the work was first published.

III.  The copyright for sound recordings is granted for 50 years following the end of the year in which the recording was created. If it’s a broadcast, the copyright will endure for 50 years following the end of the year in which it first aired.

The Copyright Act gives the creator the sole right to govern the use of his creative works and prohibits unauthorized individuals from duplicating, modifying, or passing off a creative work as their own..

  1. The Trade Marks Act. Cap T13 LFN 2004.The Act defines a mark as including a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, or any combination thereof.[9]The Act further provides for the regulation and protection of brand identity of a registered trademark. A trademark in Nigeria is initially valid for a period of seven (7) years and indefinitely renewable for another fourteen (14) year’s. The Trademark Act forms an important legal framework for the Nigerian entertainment industry.

His lordship, Per Mohammed, J.C.A in the case of Beecham Group Ltd V. Essdee food Products Nigeria Ltdheld this

The law of Trade Marks is aimed at the subtle as well as to the obvious infraction of it and both the ears and the eyes must be together involved in the exercise of comparison. If this test is applied in the present case, we do not think that the mere substitution of the letter ‘A’ in red for the letter ‘B’ in black (but retaining the size and lettering in both designs) is sufficient to dispel the confusion which may likely arise in the mind of a customer who has almost always to go by his recollection.

Per Belgore, JSC in the case of DyktradeLtd. v Omnia (Nig.) Ltdfurther reaffirm that:

Trade Mark” when registered will entitle the proprietor to sue or institute an action for any infringement of the trade mark. Registration entitles the proprietor to the exclusive use of the trade mark and also the right to sue for passing off the goods of the proprietor. The Registrar of Trade Marks will register a trade mark on an application by the proprietor and after making all the searches and investigations as provided for in Trade Marks Act, Cap. 436, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (1990) to satisfy the requirements of section 9 (1), (2) & (3) and sections 10, 11 & 12 thereof. The Act sets out clearly in sections 17, 18, 19, and 20 the procedure whereby the application for registration of a trademark will proceed.


  1. Patents and Design Act: A patent is a government authority or authorization that grants a single right or title for a specific period of time, most notably the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, or selling an invention in the country in which it was obtained without prior approval or authorization during the patent’s lifetime.


A patent is frequently issued to an inventor of a monopoly right to prevent another person from using his innovation without his approval for a set length of time in the entertainment sector, as in any other industry. The monopoly is granted in exchange for the investor publicizing his idea. The Patent and Design Act has extensive provisions for patent and design registration and control. An invention must also be fresh, resulting from a creative activity or consisting of an improvement on the potential innovation, according to the Patent and Design Act. The conditions for patentability are laid out in Section 1 of the Patents and Designs Act. It contains the following features:

1 (1) An invention is patentable if it is (a) new, results from innovative work, and is capable of industrial application, or if it is new, derives from inventive activity, and is capable of industrial application.

(b) If it is an improvement on a patented invention, as well as being novel, the result of inventive activity, and useful in industry. This provision basically establishes three prerequisites for patentability:

  1. It is a novel invention.
  2. There is an inventive step in the innovation.
  3. The invention must be capable of being used in industry.


A secondary provision created under section 1(1) (b) state that if an invention is an improvement on a previously patented invention, it will still be patentable. In Nigeria, there has been very little patent litigation; hence there are few judicial decisions on the interpretation of our legislative provisions. In Nigeria, a patent is valid for twenty (20) years from the filing date of the patent application. The patent will lapse if the specified annual fee for the patent is not paid within the stipulated time and the fee remains unpaid after the commission’s six-month grace period.

  1. Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020:Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) is one of the fundamental pieces of legislation which enhances better business atmosphere and promotes Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the entertainment industry another sectors of the economy.. The Act provides a regulatory framework for how businesses should be carried out in the Nigeria. The CAMA 2020 Act, which repeal CAMA act of 1999 reshaped the business environment most especially the entertainment industry in Nigeria.


In the Entertainment industry, to commence business operations such as modeling, record labels, film production companies, management, etc, in the Nigeria entertainment industry, one must register a business name, company, Incorporated trustee or, partnership with the Corporate Affairs Commission.[10]The Act establishes the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) which is the government agency established for registration and regulation of companies in Nigeria.[11]

Artists in the entertainment industry are often signed under a record label, production,  promotion, or management entities and these entities are usually companies incorporated and clothed with legal personality and are bound by the provisions of the Companies And Allied Matters Act ranging from capacity to form a company, filing of returns and other required compliance.

  1. The Company Income Tax Act (CITA): is the primary law in Nigeria that governs the taxes of businesses, especially those in the entertainment industry. Nigeria’s tax system is a multi-level tax system, which basically means that taxes of businesses are handled by three levels of government. The Companies Income Tax (CIT) is a tax imposed by the Company and Allied Matters Act on the income of registered companies in Nigeria, including foreign companies that are established and doing business in Nigeria. Limited liability firms, including public limited liability companies, pay the CIT.


The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is in charge of administering or overseeing corporate income taxes. FIRS was founded with the goal of providing high-quality services to taxpayers while working in collaboration with all stakeholders to make taxation the focal point of national growth. The Companies Income Tax Act mandates that a firm submitting a return submit its audited financial statements to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, while the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria gave effect to the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards. This means that after the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards, the audited accounts to be presented to the FIRS must be prepared in accordance with FIRS Standards.

Entertainment companies that are categorized as resident corporations are subject to corporate income tax (CIT) on their worldwide income, whilst non-residents are only subject to CIT on income earned in Nigeria. Corporate income tax is calculated using accounting gains that have been taxed.


  1. The Personal Income Tax Act: Nigeria’s personal income tax administration is governed by the Personal Income Tax Act. It specifies how income tax is imposed on persons, entities, communities, families, executors, and trustees, as well as how tax is assessed, collected, and administered.


Individuals, communities, families, and income originating or due to a trustee or an estate are all subject to the tax imposed by Section 1 of PITA. Every person, with certain exceptions, or company sole or body of individuals who are judged to be resident for that year in the relevant state under the requirements of the PITA must pay tax for each year of assessment on their entire income. According to the requirements of the First Schedule to PITA, tax for each year of assessment may be levied only by the state in which the individual is regarded to be resident for that year. The Section provides that:

In the case of an individual, other than an itinerant worker and persons covered under subsection (1) (b) of this section, tax for any year of assessment may be collected only by the State in which the individual is deemed to be resident for that year under the provisions of the First Schedule to this Act and in the case of persons referred to in subsection (1) (b) of t s section, tax shall be impose by the Federal Board of Inland Revenue.[12]

Everyone in the entertainment sector, whether an artist, an author, or a work’s inventor, is required to pay income taxes, and failing to do so results in a penalty.


  1. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999: The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and thus referred to as the grundnorm in Nigeria and it is of general application in the country. Any other law that is inconsistent with its provisions shall be null and void.[13]The provisions of the constitution must be taken into consideration in going about the activities of the entertainment industry as the constitution is supreme and every other law take precedence from the Constitution.



The Nigerian entertainment industry consists of agencies both governmental and non governmental agencies that regulate the activities and operations in the entertainment industry. It also consists of entities that stakeholders in the entertainment industry can identify with. The following are the key regulatory agencies in the Nigerian entertainment industry:

  1. The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC):is an Organ of the federal government, empowered to supervise the broadcasting entities. The commission was established pursuant to the National Broadcasting Commission Act.[14]

It primary function as a regulatory commission includes:

  • The NBC Receives and process applications for those seeking to own a radio station, cable TV services, television stations, direct satellite broadcast, etc.
  • The NBC control and regulate the broadcasting industry in Nigeria and other foreign correspondence operating in Nigeria.
  • Promoting Nigerian indigenous cultures, and social life through broadcasting.
  • The Nigeria broadcasting corporation evaluates and apply sanctions, including revocation of licenses of defaulting broadcasting stations.
  • The Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation Intervenes and arbitrate in conflicts in the broadcasting industry.
  • The Nigeria broadcasting corporation also ensure the strict adherence to the laws and regulations regulating it operation[15]


  1. The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB)– The National Film and Video Censors Board was created by the National Film and Video Censors Board Act to govern the film and video industry, which is a key component of the Nigerian entertainment sector. The National Film and Video Censors Board Act gave the board the authority to classify all films and videos, regardless of whether they were imported or made in Nigeria. The Board is also responsible for maintaining and registering all film and video outlets around the country, as well as keeping an up-to-date record of such outlets.

The functions of the Board are:

  • 1) The National Film and Video Censor Board examines and approves a person or entity’s application to screen films and videos in Nigeria.
  • The Board is statutory authorized to license a premises for the purposes of exhibiting films and video works or in furtherance of such exhibition.
  • The Nigerian Film and Video Classification Board (NFVCB) has the authority to censor and classify films and video works in Nigeria
  • The Board also regulates and prescribes the safety precautions that must be followed in licensed establishments.
  • The National Film and Video Censors Board Act govern and regulate film and video exhibitions.
  • And any additional functions that are required or expedient for the full fulfillment of any of the statute’s functions.[16]
  1. Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC)-The Copyright Act gave birth to the NCC. The Commission, as a federal government agency, is charged with overseeing all aspects of copyright regulation in Nigeria, including the administration, control, regulation, enforcement, and prosecution of violations of the Nigeria Copyright Act.

The commission under the copyright act is designated with the following functions:

  • The Nigerian Copyright Commission is responsible for all matters affecting Copyright in Nigeria.[17]
  • The commission is in charge of prescription of all anti-piracy devices or any gadgets in connection with any work in which copyright subsists in Nigeria[18]
  • The Commission also keeps track of Nigeria’s standing on international conventions and provides advice to the government.
  • The Nigerian Copyright Commission is in charge of regulating and advising on the terms of bilateral and multilateral agreements between Nigeria and other countries.
  • The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) keeps an up-to-date information/data bank on Nigerian authors and their works, as well as appoints copyright inspectors as needed.[19]
  • Most importantly, the Copyright Commission has the authority to receive and grant compulsory license applications as needed. They also carry out any other general or special directions issued by the Minister with respect to their functions.[20]
  1. Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC)is the major film regulating agency in Nigeria, It was first established during the military regime in 1979[21]and subsequently reestablished under the Nigerian Film Corporation Act.[22]

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture currently controls and supervises the Nigerian Film Corporation. The Corporation, by its primary responsibility of regulating film production, contributes to Nigeria’s socio-economic growth. The enabling Act under which the Corporation operates empowers her to lay a strong footing for the evolution of a 21stcentury competitive, viable and sustainable film industry and cinema culture in Nigeria. The Nigerian film corporation was created under the Nigerian Film Corporation Act to primarily aid the advancement of the film industry.

The Corporation has the following functions as highlighted below;[23]

  • Nigerian Film Corporation supervises the production of films for domestic consumption in Nigeria and for export in other countries of the world.
  • The Act also gave the Corporation the authority to control the creation and maintenance of film production facilities in Nigeria..
  • The Corporation also promotes Nigerian filmmakers to produce films by providing financial and other sorts of help.
  • The Nigerian Film Corporation encourages the development of cinematograph theatres in Nigeria by providing financial assistance and the required infrastructure.
  • The NFC provides facilities for training and upgrading the talents of actors working in the Nigerian film industry in general, as well as doing research on film production and the Nigerian film industry.
  • The Corporation regulates the acquisition and distribution of films, as well as any other activities necessary or appropriate for the complete fulfillment of the functions entrusted to it by the Nigerian Film Corporation Act or as directed by the minister.[24]
  1. Copyright Collecting Societies:A collecting society is a legal entity that licenses and maintains copyrighted works on behalf of copyright holders in a specific country. Copyright fees from licensing arrangements that allow collecting societies to monitor performances and distribution of works on radio, television, in public venues, and online, such as songwriters, text writers, filmmakers, artists, and publishers who join collecting societies to collect royalties from their works.See the case of NCC & ors v. Musical Copyright Society of (NIG) Ltd Gte & Ors[25]

Other relevant bodies are:

  • Association of Movie practitioners (AMP)
  • Association of Itsekiri Performing Artistes (AIPA)
  • Video Club Owners Association in Nigeria
  • Video Rental Operators Owners Association of Nigeria
  • Association of Film Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria.
  • Association of Movie Producers
  • National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners
  • Television Producers’ Association of Nigeria
  • Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria
  • Committee of National Guild Association
  • Yoruba Film Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria
  • All Nigeria Conference of Evangelical Drama Ministers
  • Elegusi Marketers’ Association
  • Conference of Motion Picture Practitioners of Nigeria
  • United Film Rentals Association of Nigeria
  • Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN)
  • Screen Writers’ Guild of Nigeria.
  • Creative Designers’ Guild of Nigeria According to their website,
  • Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners
  • Motion Picture Association of Nigeria (MPAN)
  • Performing Musicians’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN)


Intellectual property, which can be secured by copyrights, trademarks, and the right of performance and publicity, is the fundamental focus of the Nigerian entertainment sector. Essentially, the majority of provisions in entertainment contracts are centered on who owns and uses these unique rights. Shows, films, television, broadcasting, or other acts or activities that entertain people, or a performance of this type, are all examples of entertainment. Entertainment and creative media, such as television, video, film, radio, and live theater, provide a level of social involvement that other media, such as news, do not. This media is extremely popular around the world, and it has the ability to reach a large, multigenerational audience.

Entertainment companies, like other businesses, are interested in preventing others from adopting trade names that are so similar or similar to their registered trademark or name that consumers are confused about who is offering specific products or services. As a result, many entertainment firms prefer to register their names or brands with the Nigeria Copyright Commission, claiming the right to prevent others from using their names in any commercial or promotional operations. Some Nigerian entertainers like “Davido”, “Rude boy”, “AY”, etc. Depending on the circumstances, such names will be registered as service marks rather than trademarks, and once an entity receives a registration from the NCeRS, no other entity may use the name, or a confusingly similar name, to provide services similar to those provided by the registrant, or to Perform or cause to be performed for trade or business, or as a supporting facility to a trade or business, any work in which copyright subsists.

Copyright is a long-term protection mechanism employed by the entertainment and media industries to ensure that no one gets access to their original work without their permission. Copyright has a significant impact on the media and entertainment industries since it is required to safeguard the creator’s original work. In today’s world, technological advancements have resulted in an increase in piracy of original works, resulting in financial loss to the owner. As a result, there is a need to protect the owner’s original work from copyright infringement, so that no one can access the owner’s original work without their permission or license. As a result, in the entertainment sector, the owner must have exclusive rights to the work or content.

Reproduction was defined as “the making of one or more copies of a literary, musical or artistic work, cinematograph film or sound recording”. By simple translation, the reproduction could only be infringed by the literal physical reproduction of a protected work, such as reprinting or copying the work.


Intellectual Property Law protects creativity which is the hallmark of the entertainment industry by granting various intellectual property rights which exclusive proprietary rights are granted by law to the originator on a work that is a product of the creativity of the brain.

The most applicable intellectual property rights in the entertainment industry are trademark, patent, designs, and copyright. In the entertainment industry, Copyright is important as it helps to protect the value of a performer, author, actor, academia and researchers work, by giving the inventor of the work the ability to protect his work from unlicensed or unauthorized usage. This leads to the prevention of their work from being reproduced.  In this way, copyright helps to fosters intellectual creativity in the entertainment industry as it provides an incentive and moral encouragement for a creator to work freely, allowing them to gain recognition and economic interest for their work as well as protecting the industry from sabotage. TheCopyright Act did not expressly define the word “works” as to clearly distinguish entertainment works that are protected under the copyright Act. However, Section 1 (1)[26]provides that the following work shall be eligible for protection under the copyright Act.

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

Copyright cannot be granted to the creator of any work that does not fall into the following categories. Similarly, it is not enough to have created a work; it must be eligible for legal protection if it complies with the Act’s requirements:

  1. a) Considerable effort has been put into creating the work to give it a unique personality.
  2. b) The work has been fixed in any concrete medium of expression currently known or hereafter created, from which it can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated directly or through the use of any machine or device.

It is abundantly obvious from the above provision of the Copyright Act that a literary, musical, or artistic work, including cinematographic films, qualifies as a work eligible for protection under the Copyright Act after it has been fixed in a definite form and resources have been expended on the work to give it an original character. In this context, “originality” may not always imply “creativity” or “novelty.” It merely means the work was not plagiarized or recreated from another source. It’s important to remember that copyright doesn’t protect ideas, and that copyright is earned via the application of one’s talents to a task rather than through creation. The Act also grants copyright to any work that is qualified for copyright and is a literary work, a musical work, a sound recording, an artistic work, or a cinematograph film that is first made or published in Nigeria.[27]


A musical work, according to the Nigeria Copyrights Act’s interpretation section, is any musical composition, regardless of musical quality, and includes works written for musical accompaniment.[28].

Section 5 (1) of the Act[29] provide thus “Subject to the exceptions specified in the Second Schedule to this Act, copyright in a work shall be exclusive right to control the doing in Nigeria of any of the following acts, that is, in the case of a literary or musical work, to do and authorize the doing of any of the following acts-

  1. Reproduce the work any material form;
  2. Publish the work;
  • Perform the work in public;
  1. Produce, reproduce, perform or publish any translation of the work;
  2. Make any cinematograph film or a record in respect of the work;
  3. Distribute to the public, for commercial purposes, copies of the work, by way of rental, lease, hire, loan or similar arrangement;
  • Broadcast or communicate the work to the public by a loud speaker or any other similar device;
  • Make an adaptation of the work;
  1. Do in relation to a translation or an adaptation of the work, any of the acts specified in relation to the work in sub-paragraphs (I) to (vii) of this paragraph

Therefore, a songwriter is given the right to record his music, produce, sell or distribute copies of the music in several formats both in hardware and software, stream the music, stage a public performance of the music, reproduce or can make new work from the original work such as modifying one’s music so as to create a new song.. Copyright in musical work also extends to preventing others from doing any of these acts without one’s authorization.[30]



Copyright is only granted to the artists or creators of the work, commonly referred to as the “author” of the work. The artist has the right to assign his intellectual property rights to a third party. In this scenario, the copyright owner is the person who has duly gained the right through a transfer or other legal procedures. Drawings, paintings, maps, schematics, photographs, pieces of applied handicraft and industrial art, and architectural works such as building blueprints are all examples of artistic works. The Copyright Act protects all artistic creations, regardless of their aesthetic quality.

Subject to the exceptions specified in the Second Schedule to this Act, copyright in a work shall be exclusive right to control the doing in Nigeria of any of the following acts, that is, in the case of an artistic work, to do or authorize the doing of any of the following acts, that is, in the case of an artistic work, to do or authorize the doing of any of the following acts, that is:

  1. Reproduce the work in any material form.
  2. Make the work available to the public.
  • Include the work in any cinematograph film that you make.
  1. Create a new piece based on the original.
  2. Carry out the actions outlined in subparagraphs (I) to (iii) of this paragraph in connection to an adaptation of the work.[31]



Cinematograph film is defined by section 51 of the Copyright Act[32]and it means the first fixation of a sequence of visual images, which may be reproduced and which includes the recording of a sound track that may be associated with the cinematograph film. Examples of cinematograph films are movies, music video, documentaries and Historical videos etc. The writer’s exclusive right to reproduce or make a copy of their film, to raise public awareness or make it available for public hearing, to utilize the soundtrack, and to distribute it for commercial purposes is protected by copyright in film. These rights are valid for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which they were first published. The author has the right to claim authorship as well as the authority to authorize others to do these activities.

The Act states that copyright in a work is the exclusive right to regulate the doing in Nigeria of any of the following actions, subject to the exclusions listed in the Second Schedule to this Act: in the case of a cinematograph film, to do or authorise the doing of any of the following acts:

  1. Make a copy of the movie.
  2. Make the film, in so far as it contains visual pictures, visible to the public and, in so far as it contains sounds, audible to the public.
  • Use such sound track to make any record containing the recording in any part of the sound track linked with the picture.
  1. Distribute to the public, for commercial purposes copies of the work, by way of rental, lease, hire, loan or similar arrangement.


In Nigeria, a person who infringes on a protected right in the entertainment business may face both civil and criminal penalties. If the copyright owner wants to pursue monetary damages, profits, litigation costs, or an injunction, he or she can file a lawsuit in the federal high court where the infringement took place.

There are a variety of remedies available for copyright infringement:

  1. Injunctions: A copyright holder may obtain an injunction, either temporary or permanent, to prevent future or ongoing infringement. When responsibility is proven and there is a likely likelihood of continued infringement, courts usually grant permanent injunctions.
  2. Confiscation and Destruction: During the course of the lawsuit, the courts may order the confiscation of the infringing works. The court may order the confiscated works to be destroyed or any other reasonable disposition of the infringing works as part of a final determination.
  3. Damages: A copyright owner may elect to recover actual damages and profits from the offender at any moment before a final judgment is made.
  4. Costs of litigation: The courts have the authority to allow any party to recover the whole cost of litigation.
  5. Criminal Penalties:If a copyright infringement is done with the objective of gaining a commercial advantage or personal financial gain, the suspected offender may face criminal charges.


One of the most important sources of employment in Nigeria is the entertainment industry. The entertainment sector contributed 0.21 percent to Nigeria’s GDP in the second quarter of 2021. In comparison to the first quarter of 2020, when it reached 0.31 percent, the industry’s involvement and growth has slowed marginally. However, as compared to 2019, the entertainment industry’s contribution to GDP grew.[33]

The value of the entertainment industry in Nigeria to our social and economic development cannot be overstated. Copyright has a significant impact on the industry because it is required to safeguard and prohibit the creator’s original work. In the entertainment sector, copyright infringement comprises the unauthorised use of a protected work, as well as the breach and piracy of an author’s exclusive right. Unauthorized creation, copying, or reproduction, publication, public performance, distribution, broadcast, and adaption of protected works are all considered infringements under the Act.Except if the conduct comes within the scope of the exceptions from copyright control, performing these acts without the authorization of the copyright owner constitutes infringement.[34]

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has achieved headway in its aim to safeguard the entertainment industry and to enforce the provisions of copyright laws in order to prevent piracy and other copyright violations. Similarly, the Commission must investigate the problems in order to formulate policies for the protection of intellectual property rights in the entertainment business.

[1]Chudi Ojukwu is an Associate Professor of Law at the Department of Public Law, College of Law, Gregory University , Uturu.

[2]Garner, B.A., et al, Blacks Law Dictionary, 8th ed. (Minnesota: Thomson West publishing Co., 2004). P361.

[3]Cap C28 LFN 2004

[4]Cap T13 LFN 2004

[5]Cap P2 LFN 2004

[6]2020 No.3 A5

[7]Cap C21 LFN 2004

[8]Cap P8 LFN 2004

[9]See S. 1 of the Trade Marks Act, Cap T 13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

[10]CAC v. Ayedun(2005) LPELR-CA/A/152/2004

[11]S. 1 CAMA 2020

[12]Section 2(2) of the PITA

[13]AG Abia State v AG Federation(2002) 6 NWLR (Pt.763) 264; AG Ondo State v AG Federation(2002) 9 NWLR (Pt.772) 222; (2002) 6 SCNJ 1

[14]Section 1 of the National Broadcasting Commission Act

[15]See sections 9- 14 NBC Act for the powers to grant licenses.

[16]See section 2 of the National Film and Video Censors Board Act

[17]section 34(1) of the Copyright Act

[18]Section 21 of the Copyright Act

[19]Section 38 of the Copyright Act

[20]Section 50 of the Copyright Act

[21]under Decree No.61 of 1979

[22]See S. 1 of the Nigerian Film Corporation Act

[23]See S. 3 (a-h) of the Nigerian Film Corporation Act.

[24]See S. 4 of the Nigerian film Corporation Act.

[25](2016) LPELR-CA/L/350/2013


[26]Copyright Act Chapter C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

[27]See S. 2(1) of the Copyright Act Chapter C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

[28]See S. 51 of the Nigerian Copyright Act


[30]See. S. 6(1)(a) of the Nigeria Copyright Act

[31]See. S. 6(1)(b) of the Nigeria Copyright Act



[34]Second Schedule of the Copyright Act



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