The Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG) has commended the Federal Executive Council, the highest policy making organ of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the recent approval of Nigeria’s ratification of four (4) copyright treaties. The treaties approved for ratification at its meeting of Wednesday June 7, 2017 are the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT); WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT); Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh Treaty); and the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (Beijing Treaty).
With this approval, Nigeria is expected to deposit the instruments of ratification with the World Intellectual Property Organization as required under the respective treaties.
In separate congratulatory letters to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, the Executive Director of REPRONIG, Mr. John Asein described the development as laudable and commended the Federal Executive Council for being responsive to the yearnings of right owners. On behalf of the millions of literary authors and publishers who stand to benefit from the implementation of the treaties, he also thanked the President and Acting President (who presided over the meeting) for their commitment to empowering the creative sector as a major contributor to employment generation and national economic growth.
Asein expressed hope that the instruments of ratification for the treaties will be deposited in the shortest possible time and appealed to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to hasten the passage of the Draft Copyright Bill through which Nigerians will benefit from the provisions of the treaties. He noted that the Draft Bill had gone through rounds of industry consultations and has received the inputs of stakeholders from within and outside Nigeria.
He also appealed to the Ministries concerned to implement the Copyright (Levy on Materials) Order which was made in 2012 but is yet to be operationalized.
The last time Nigeria ratified a copyright treaty was in 1993 when the country ratified the Berne and Rome Conventions.