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Expanding the frontiers of Nigerian copyright laws in the age of social media

Nkem Itanyi


The social media is an avenue which promotes intellectual creativity and a minefield of ideas which can be deployed into important works. The Copyright Act (Cap C28, LFN 2004), lists the works which are eligible for copyright protection. Works in digital format may or may not fit into these protected categories. Multimedia works obscure the clear cut distinction of categories of works as they combine works of different kinds. They are also not static as they evolve with technology. It has been recommended that the different categories of works be protected according to their distinct features. We opine that this is untidy and does not make for uniformity. Also, the concept of fixation (on a stable material or medium) seems difficult to sustain as a pre-requisite for the qualification of a creation as a copyright work since intangibility and a transitory nature are common features of works placed on the internet. Sequel to the above, it is imperative to fix certain duties on online service providers just like other countries have done; duty to give notice of illegal activities and duty of identification of infringers upon request of the investigative authorities. Infringers should also be made to account for profits while the infringing contents were up. Finally, due to the potential for commercial exploitation of user- generated contents on social media sites, they should use effective content identification technology to eliminate from their services all infringing user generated contents.

Keywords: Copyright, Multimedia, Fixation, User- Generated Content, Social Media, Internet, Online Service Providers