Copyright Development: Google Workshop Brings Together Stakeholders and IP Practitioners in Lagos

Image Credit: © Bjørn Hovdal |

July 15, 2015, Lagos, Nigeria — This past June, Google, together with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), the African Centre for Study Development Research and Civil Education (ACCE) and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) held a workshop in Lagos. The workshop which was titled “Nigeria’s Digital Economy and the Copyright System: Challenges and opportunities for strategic growth in the Information Age” took place on July 15 -16 at the Southern Sun, Ikoyi Hotel, Lagos.

The first day session of the workshop was themed “Leveraging Nigeria’s Role in the Networked Information Economy” while the second day was themed “Cultural and Technological Interchanged and the Role of Copyright Law.”

Some of the sessions included:

  • “Copyright Exceptions and Limitations (E&Ls) as Levers in the Production of Knowledge Assets in the Information Economy“ presented by Mr. Afam Nwokedi, IP law firm of Stillwaters.
  •  “Cybersecurity and Copyright under the Cybercrime Act of 2015” presented by Mr. Basil Udotai, the Managing Partner of Technology Advisors.
  • “Copy What? Key Considerations for Nigeria’s IP Framework in the knowledge Economy” by Professor Olufunmilayo Arewa, University of California, Irvine School of Law.
  • “Capitalization on Nigeria’s Creative Potential: What should be the goals of the Nigerian Copyright Act in the Digital Economy” by Mr. Mike Akpan, Nigerian Copyright Commission.
  • “Software Protection and ISP Liability under Nigeria’s Copyright and Trademark Policy — What Should the Law Be? by Professor Adebambo Adewopo
  • “Maintaining the Copyright System for the Public Good: The Role of Copyright E&Ls in Ensuring Robust Access to Content and Data” by Professor Bankole Sodipo, Dean and Professor of Law Babcock University.
  • “What Exceptions and Limitations are Needed under Nigerian Copyright Law” by Mr. Chibuzo Ekwekwuo, Managing Partner A&E Law Partnership
  • “Relevance of Use vs Fair Dealing in the Nigeria Media and Private Law Context” by Emmanuel Gahabo, Partner, Templars Law Firm
  • “Comparative Trademark Fair Use and Copyright Fair Use: Implications for Registration, Enforcement and Remedies in Nigerian” by Mr. Femi Fajolu, Managing Partner, Chief G.O Sodipo & Co.
  • “The Regulations of Trademark in Nigeria for Digital Age: Three Priorities” by Mr. Olusegun Adekunle, Registrar of Trademarks, Patent and Designs, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Below are some of the more memorable quotes from the sessions:

  1. “Nigeria lacks a national strategy or policy on intellectual property, resulting in lack of competence in bargaining skills for global access to medicines, development of cultural goods, technology transfer and education. As a result, our people are systematically cheated in their ability to maintain strong positions at the negotiating tables be they in Geneva, New York, Brussels or Paris…The Nigerian Copyright Act and the Patent Act are anachronistic reminders of our colonial past. At best, Nigeria currently has an intellectual property framework that protects the interest of foreigners and fails to motivate its creative sectors to the fullest capacity. This situation must change, and it must change immediately.” —  Ambassador Umunna Orjiako
  2. “The protection of intellectual property rights is essential for enhancing the socio-economic and cultural development of nations in the global knowledge economy. Yet Nigeria’s economic growth and development strategy continues to revolve around dependency on oil, gas and solid minerals exploitation with hardly any reference to the abundant intellectual resources it possess.” — Pat Utomi
  3. “…Adopting the Creative Commons model of copyright management at this time will only deal a big blow on Nigeria’s already threatened creative industries. I want to plead with those who want Nigeria to join the Creative Commons experiment to tarry a while. The copyright culture in our country is still being built. A sudden jump into the Creative Commons model at this point will send devastating mixed signals that would do significant harm to our creative industries. This is not the time.” — Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON)
  4. “Nollywood’s rise to the position of the largest African film industry and the second largest in the world strongly demonstrates how creativity can contribute to the promotion of cultural heritage as well as economic growth,”  — Pat Utomi
  5. “The headquarters of music piracy in Nigeria may also have changed from the notorious Alaba Market to the Ikeja Computer Village, all in Lagos. In Computer Village and replicated in many Nigerian cities today, thousands of young men with laptops and without the authorization of the owners of the works, are openly compiling the most popular songs in the market for a small fee, transferring these songs to mobile handsets, mp3s, mp4s, ipods, ipads, iphones, or flash drives for whoever has money to pay! The emergence of this kind of brazen digital piracy is a menace which has resulted in the dwindling sales of physical music products like CDs and DVDs and putting hundreds of thousands of legitimate jobs at risk and driving away millions of dollars in badly needed investment.” — Chief Tony Okoroji
  6. “Nigeria’s economy is actually beyond oil. Strengthening our technological base and assets would help develop our economy at an unprecedented pace. We have the capacity to become a very competitive economy because there is so much potential that we can leverage on to become bigger than we are today…We live in a period where economies are driven by knowledge and ideas. We cannot continue to confine ourselves in the mould of consumers when we have so much to offer the world.”   — Pat Utomi


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About Ufuoma Akpotaire 311 Articles
Ufuoma is a Senior Editor and Director of Regulatory Policy at NLIPW. She assists clients in the protection of copyrights, trademarks and patents. She counsels clients regarding validity and infringement matters and has experience acting against the infringement of IP and addressing counterfeit issues. She holds a Masters degree (LL.M.) from Columbia Law School, New York and a law degree from the University of Nigeria (LL.B. Honors). She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in the State of New York. Ufuoma cut her teeth in the intellectual property practice groups of some of the largest law firms in Nigeria and has years of experience working with major non-profit organizations in New York. Email: