AN EXAMINATION OF THE CONCEPT OF COPYRIGHT OWNERSHIP IN NIGERIA

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AN EXAMINATION OF THE CONCEPT OF COPYRIGHT OWNERSHIP IN NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

Copyright is a property that possesses the essential attributes of ownership and transmissibility. The ownership in copyright is transferrable as movable property by assignment, testamentary disposition or by operation of law. Therefore, the incidence of ownership is subject to contractual agreement that may exist between the author and other persons before or after the creation of the work. In the same vein, the provisions of the Copyright Act concerning first ownership of copyright and its consequences are also subject to the traditional tenet of freedom of contract. Generally, the concept of ownership of copyright depends on transaction if any that took place between the author of a work and another person. But if there is none, both the authorship and ownership of the work are on the author. However, this has generated difficulty in determining an owner of copyright in a  work where there are two conflicting interest between author of a work and any other person claiming ownership in the same work. In addition, the Act provides that an author of a work  is the person who created the work or made the production of the work possible. In some instances, there would be a creator of a work and at the same time, someone made its production possible. In that situation, there is a problem of determining the concepts of contract of service and contract for service of an employer. Moreover, there is also difficulty and uncertainty in the transfer of copyright ownership of a joint interest. This is because the Act is not clear as to whether the consent of other co-owner should be sought before transferring ownership to any interested party. This research is aimed at examine the concept of copyright ownership in Nigeria with a view to identify the difficulties and contradictions inherent in the existing definitions of copyright ownership and to identify loopholes of the Copyright Act in respect to the concept of copyright ownership. The Method used in carrying out this research is doctrinal. This research made some findings amongst which it discovered that neither in the provisions nor in the interpretation section of the Copyright Act has the word “Copyright” been defined. Finally, it is part of the recommendations of this research  that a statutory definition be inserted either in the provisions of the Act or in the interpretation section of the Act.

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