Friday, 11 July 2014

Nigeria set to launch an e-Copyright 'Registration' System

Since the beginning of this year, we've been receiving exciting news from Nigeria in the area of intellectual property rights (IPRs) administration. First, we heard about the IP Automated System; then, just last month, was that the Nigerian Trademarks Registry's e-filing system actually works! Today, thanks to the excellent Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch, this Leo is equally kind of delighted to learn that the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) will be launching its e-Copyright Registration System (NeCRS) on Friday, 25 July 2014. 

The NCC's press release states:

"About NeCRS:
The Nigerian Electronic Copyright Registration System (NeCRS) seeks to improve on the existing Copyright Notification scheme to enable creators of copyright works or persons who have acquired rights in these works to register such interests with the Commission. [Click here to find out about the non-mandatory Copyright Notification Scheme (CNS). Section 34 (2)(e) of the Nigerian Copyright Act, Cap. C28 mandates the NCC to "maintain an effective data bank on authors and their works" (emphasis added)]

Additional advantages include:

  • Documentation of Copyright works of all qualified persons from any part of the world;
  • Protection for copyright works of Nigerian authors in all countries who are signatory to international copyright conventions to which Nigeria is signatory;
  • Searches of the NeCRS database for information relating to registered copyright works or author;
  • Flexible payment platform for services; and
  • Efficient and timely service delivery. 
[Is that it? Any special legal advantages like the ones seen in the U.S? (See page 7 here)]

Commencement date:
With effect from 1st of August, 2014, applications for registration of copyright works maybe submitted through the NeCRS portal. The portal can be accessed via the Commission's ( website or a dedicated URL that will be provided later. [Perhaps, the plan is to run it through here]

Guidelines on the procedure of application and prescribed fees are on the NeCRS website and may also be obtained from the Regulatory department of the Commission at the Head office, Abuja (tel: +234 818 341 3611), or any offices of the Commission nation-wide." [Let's hope that all the necessary information will be on the website. If the telephone number is for customer support, then that would be great!]

Nigeria will now join other Berne Convention Signatories, notably the United States in holding electronic records of copyright works. The U.S Copyright Office - which administers the public record for the registration and deposit of copyright works - is well looked after by the Library of Congress (emphasis added).

The NCC looks like they've been very careful with the CNS in order to avoid offending Article 5(2) of the Berne Convention (which is against formalities). However, it would be very helpful if the NCC can provide further clarification, at some point, so that everyone can better understand the limit and any legal advantages of its system and be rest assured that it isn't a formality in disguise - which might affect foreign copyright owners. [Afro Leo can already see a few clear differences between the regime in Nigeria and the U.S

In all, Afro-IP congratulates Nigeria for all the recent remarkable endeavours in the area of IPRs administration. The next challenge is to sustain and keep them functioning, appropriately.

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