Lawyers want stronger laws against copy right infringement, plagiarism
Some concerned lawyers in Lagos have asked the Federal Government to take steps to enforce the country’s intellectual property law to protect creative outputs of individuals.
The lawyers said on Saturday that the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, should do more in protecting intellectual property rights of citizens by putting in place a mechanism for proper enforcement of copyright laws.
Copyright law guides and protects the intellectual property works of individuals from being reproduced by others.
One of the lawyers, Kemi Ajayi, said that a major aspect of intellectual property constantly abused was the copyright, which has to do with literary and artistic works of persons.
According to Mrs Ajayi, if a check is not placed on the infringement of intellectual property, there would be a major drawback on creativity and invention by Nigerians, pointing out that Nigeria, like other developing nations, is facing challenges associated with the implementation of copyright laws.
Drawing attention to the situation in the developed countries, where most intellectual works are internet-based, which are largely not available for plagiarism, she said in Nigeria, people’s works are replicated without caution by various individuals.
Besides, she said the infringement on such rights of individuals was not properly addressed by the NCC, resulting in flagrant abuses, adding that government should ensure adequate protection of intellectual property rights of individuals to foster confidence in creativity.
Another lawyer, George Ogbolu, traced the problem of copyright infringement to the low level of technology in the country, pointing out that the situation would have been different if Nigeria were to have attained a higher level of technological growth.
Ogbolu said that a major concern of the Commission should be in the area of strengthening copyright laws in the country, pointing out that protection of intellectual properties would enable the owners to derive maximum benefit from the products of their creativity.
Ogbolu observed that lip-service paid by government agencies responsible for the enforcement of copyright laws has been the major cause of the proliferation of the crime, adding that an appropriate legal framework should be put in place to cushion the wanton infringement on copyright laws.
Similarly, Joshua Ibeka, a lawyer and member of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, said that copyright laws should be reviewed to create stringent penalties for plagiarism, saying most literary works of writers were frequently plagiarised by unscrupulous elements, who go scot-free, while the authors wallow in penury.
Ibeka suggested prompt action by the NCC to work out modalities in ensuring that intellectual property of individuals would be guided to avoid abuse, while advising government to establish an Intellectual Property Commission to bring the copyright system under a single authority and make enforcement of copyright laws more effective. (NAN)
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