Copyright protects original creations in the literary and artistic fields which are fixed in medium from which they can be reproduced, or otherwise communicated. Examples of works protected include;
- Literary works (novels, stories, poetical works, plays, computer programmes, letters, encyclopedias, law reports, etc);
- Artistic works ( paintings, drawings, maps, plans, woodcuts, works of architecture, sculpture, craftsmanship, etc);
- Musical works (musical notations and compositions);
- films;
- Sound recordings; and
- Broadcasts
Titles, ideas, concepts, procedures, methods or things of similar nature are not protected by Copyright.

Copyright is the exclusive right granted by a statute to an author (i.e., an artist, writer, publisher, musician, performer, photographer, architect, film maker, and sculptor) of certain works to control the doing of some acts in relation to the work.

The creator of a copyright work, usually referred to as the “author” of the work owns the copyright in the work in the first instance. However, the author is at liberty to transfer his rights to a third party. In such a case, the person who has obtained the right by transfer or other legal means becomes the owner of copyright.

Publication is not necessary for copyright protection.

No. Each work should be registered in a separate application. However, you may registere works as a collection on one application with one title for the entire collection, as in the case of a music album with several songs. A movie in parts will be treated as separate works.

Duration of the registration process depends on the method of application. Generally, applications are processed within 10 working days. Online submissions using the online payment platform may have shorter duration of processing.

Copyright protection is essentially territorial in nature. By virtue of membership of certain international copyright treaties and conventions, works of Nigerian citizens enjoy protection in territories of member countries of such treaties to which Nigeria is a party, including the Berne Convention.

The primary law that protects copyright in Nigeria is the Copyright Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. In addition to the Copyright Act, there are Regulations which have been issued to regulate certain activities undertaken in relation to copyright works.
These include;
- The Copyright (Optical Discs Plants) Regulations 2006
- Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007
- Copyright (Levy on Materials) Order 2012

The rights which an author or copyright owner enjoys in a work include the right to be acknowledged in any use made of his work and also to prevent any derogatory use; alteration; distortion or mutilation of same (referred to as moral rights). More importantly, he enjoys the right to earn money from his work by determining the condition under which the work may be commercially used by a third party (economic rights). An author can prohibit or authorize the following acts;
- The reproduction of the work in various forms such as printed publication, photocopying or making a recording in any media;
- The public performance of work such as staging a play in a theatre;
- The recording of work in the form of compact disks, cassettes, videotapes, etc;
- The broadcasting of the work by radio, cable or satellite;
- The translation of the work into other languages or its adaptation such as from a novel to a screenplay;
- The distribution of the work commercially by way of sales, hiring or rental.

The Copyright Act does not stipulate registration or any such formality as a condition for protection. Copyright subsists automatically in a work from the moment the work is created. However, as part of its statutory mandate to maintain an effective databank on authors and their works, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has established a voluntary copyright registration scheme designed to enable authors and right owners notify the Commission of the creation and existence of a work.

Registration of a work with the commission has several advantages, including the following:
- The record generated by the Commission provides an independent source of verifying data relating to a work or its author to the general public;
- The acknowledgement certificate issued to the author who notifies the Commission of his work provide prima facie evidence of the facts shown on it;
- The scheme provides a depository for preserving original copies of works notified;
- The information and data contained in the Notification database offers reliable rights management information to members of the public and prospective licensees to the work

When you register a work with the Commission, it becomes part of the databank of copyright authors and works required to be kept by the commission under the copyright Act, and therefore forms part of a public record. All the information you provide on your copyright registration is available to the public and will be available on the Internet. However, copies of the work can only be made available to third parties with the authorization of the author or copyright owner.

The rights enjoyed by the owner of Copyright are limited. The author of a work does not own his Copyright indefinitely. The author of a literary, artistic or musical work enjoys copyright throughout his lifetime and for 70 years after his death. In the case of films, sound recordings, performances etc., the owner enjoys Copyright for 50 years from the time the work was first published. The work goes to the public domain when the term of protection expires and third parties are allowed free use.

The fee for registration is N20, 000 (twenty thousand naira).
Fees for other transactions under the registration scheme are as follows:
Issuance of Certified true copy of Certificate - N10,000
Issuance of Certified true copy of form - N10,000
Corrections & changes in submitted data - N10,000
Issuance of certified true copy of a Work (Paper-based only)
Works below 50 pages - N10,000
51 to 100 pages - N12,000
101 to 200 pages - N15,000
Above 200 pages - N20,000


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