What is Copyright and Copyright Infringement in Nigeria?

Copyright and Copyright Infringement in Nigeria. As the world embraces creativity more and more and the internet becomes easily accessible, the need to protect our ideas and works from people quick to steal such is also high. How then are we to protect our ideas and works from the greedy hands of those who wish to hand in a finished assignment after another have slaved over it? The recognition of this pressing need is what gave birth to Intellectual property rights.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a branch of Intellectual Property which includes, literary works, musical works, artistic works, cinematographic films, sound recordings, and broadcast.

Copyright protects the integrity of the authors creative work by giving the author the right to object to modifications or distortions or any such other acts of infringement of their work. Copyright owners have certain exclusive rights which include reproducing, publishing, performing, translating, making any cinematograph film or a record in respect of the work, distributing to the public for hire or for commercial purpose copies of the work, communicating to the public and making an adaptation of the work.

Duration of Copyright

In respect of literary, musical and artistic works, the duration provided for copyright under the Copyright Act Cap 28 LFN 2004 is, the duration of the life of the author and 70 years after the end of the year in which the author dies and in the case of  works authored by government or a corporate body, the duration is 70 years after the end of the year in which the work was first published.

For cinematograph films, photographs, sound recordings and broadcast, the duration is 50 years after the end of the year in which the work was first published or broadcast.

Infringement of Copyright

Infringement of copyright occurs when a person without the licence or authorization of the copyright owner, does or causes any other person to do any of the acts reserved to the copyright owner under the Act. It generally includes; reproduction, publication, performance, adaptation, and broadcasting and commercial distribution without authorization.

Remedies for Infringement of Copyright

The law provides several remedies to copyright owners who prove infringements against their work. Copyright infringement may be civil or criminal and can be enforced through civil proceedings or criminal proceedings. The Copyright Act provides that a claimant has the option of pursuing either or both simultaneously.

In any action for infringement, relief such as;

  1. Damages: Payment of money as compensation.
  2. Injunction: A Court order preventing the Respondent from continuing with an act.
  3. Accounts of profit: As it implies, rendering an account of profit the Respondent made by infringing on the Intellectual Property of the Claimant. or otherwise are available.

Exceptions to the Exclusive Ownership of Copyright

The Copyright Act, in the Second and Third Schedules, exempts certain acts from constituting copyright infringement. Some of the exceptions mentioned in the schedules includes acts such as;

  1. Fair dealing with the work for the purpose of research
  2. Criticism or review subject to the condition that if used in public it must acknowledge the authorship of the work
  3. Use for educational purposes
  4. Use for judicial proceedings and
  5. Reproduction for use of the blind or disabled.


Copyright protects expression of ideas and not the ideas themselves. For a work to be eligible for copyright protection under the Act, sufficient effort must have been expended on the work to give it an original character, it must be in tangible form and must have been fixed in a definite medium – Section 1(2) (a to b) Copyright Act Cap 28 LFN 2004.

Read more about Intellectual Property Rights in Nigeria.

Written by: Efe

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2 comments on “What is Copyright and Copyright Infringement in Nigeria?”

  1. I like what you guys are doing. Makes a lot of sense to bring awareness of our laws in a easy to read manner. Just hope we could get enough eyes to see this. Perhaps a suggestion is to add some personalised touch touch to this and keep the articles expressive.

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