The terrible truth about copyright

By Poiya Isaac

Copyright is defined as “that right granted to protect the original work of the author which has been reduced into material form” such as books, music and compositions.


If a musician is in the process of composing and writing a song, this implies that it has not yet been reduced to a material form, it is only then that it can be afforded protection under the law.

Characteristic of Copyright;

The work must also be original in the form or character, written down or recorded, reduced into material form with or without the consent of the creator or author.

Exception to the general rule;

Where its’ only a minimum part that is copied, this will then fall under the legal principle of ‘diminimis’ and it also include the principle of limitation such as fair dealing or fair use of the material i.e. for educational purpose.

Time limit for enforcement of rights related to Copyright in law;

Copyright protection always last for the life of the author plus duration of 50 years as it is internationally applicable under the common law of the common wealth countries. Although some countries like U.K and U.S.A have extended this term to 70 years.

Advantages of Copyright;

Copyright earns incentive to the creator of the work, encourage learning, cultural importance and protection of human rights, prevent piracy and counterfeit.

While, there are other rights which are related to copyright creator, these are rights that accompany copyright. And are those rights which are granted to performers, film producers and publishers including broadcasting companies.

The significance;

Copyright is to protect legal interest of the owners or creators of the work, other users as well as the legal entities which could assist authors or creators to communicate their message or make available their copyright work to the public. i.e theaters for dramatic work. Copyright law also protects the owner of the right against other users, the right in which the original form is expressed by the author or a substantial part of the form.

Work that require protection;

The examples of work that can be protected under copyright shall include; gramophone, records, broadcasts, cinematography films, literary work such as books and musical work such as songs of musicians.

Remedies available;

The infringement of the copyright entitles the owner, creator or author to seek for damages for the loss arising therewith in the Courts of laws or before a reliable authority. Injunction can be a remedy to restrain a further infringement. (Atwine, 2003).

It is advisable for authors, creators, musicians and publishers to collectively assert the rights of its members to grant copyright authorization for certain use of their work and which will collect and allocate the corresponding royalties.

Thus a model of turning a right into money through collective management organization or collective society including the right of public performance, right of broadcasting, mechanical music reproduction rights and related rights.


The writer; Poiya Isaac Lagu, Is an Advocate & Commissioner for Oaths


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