Nigeria recently deposited four Instruments of Ratification of copyright treaties at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The instruments were deposited during the on-going 57th meeting of the Assembly of member states of WIPO.
The meeting, which commenced on October 2, 2017, will end on October 11, 2017. The Treaties ratified include:
- the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT);
- the Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT);
- Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances; and
- Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.
All four treaties were signed by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on August 24, 2017, after due consultations in accordance with Constitutional Provisions and following an approval of the Federal Executive Council.
The Director General of WIPO, Francis Gurry, received the Instruments of Ratification.
The process for the Ratification of the four treaties was initiated by the Director General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. Afam Ezekude.
Nigeria was among the member countries of WIPO that signed the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty (WPPT) in 1996 when both instruments were adopted in a Diplomatic Conference held in Geneva on December 20, 1996, at a time when the Pioneer Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. Moses Ekpo served as the President of the WIPO General Assembly.Nigeria also signed the Beijing Treaty on Audio Visual Performances in Beijing on June 24, 2012 and the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind or visually impaired or otherwise Print Disabled in Marrakesh on June 27, 2013 respectively.
Key Points about the Marrakesh Treaty
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled seeks to help to end the book famine faced by people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.
The Treaty is one of the international copyright treaties administered by WIPO. WIPO states that the Treaty has a clear humanitarian and social development dimension and its main goal is to create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled persons.
The type of works covered under the treaty are “literary and artistic works … in the form of text, notation and/or related illustrations, whether published or otherwise made publicly available in any media;” This means that books, music sheets, periodicals, journals and other similar textual works are granted an exception to copyright rules in order to permit reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in formats designed to be accessible to blind or visually impaired persons, and to permit exchange of these works across borders by organizations that serve those beneficiaries.
It is important to note that the exception allowed by the treaty doesn’t cover films.
The Treaty does not allow for the contents of a Work to be changed rather just for works to be transcribed into accessible formats.
The Treaty clarifies that beneficiary persons are those affected by a range of disabilities that interfere with the effective reading of printed material. The broad definition includes persons who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled or persons with a physical disability that prevents them from holding and manipulating a book.
Not just any individual can transcribe the books rather many non-profit, government entities, or for-profit entities that provide services to beneficiary persons using public funds and on a not-for-profit basis, come under the broad definition. They are either specifically authorized or “recognized” by the government as entities that provide many functions including education and information access to beneficiary persons.
The Treaty establishes an Assembly of the Contracting Parties whose main task is to address matters concerning the maintenance and development of the Treaty. It also entrusts to the Secretariat of WIPO the administrative tasks concerning the Treaty.
The Treaty text was adopted on June 27, 2013 in Marrakesh.
About the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty makes provision for the rights of two kinds of beneficiaries, particularly in the digital environment: (i) performers (actors, singers, musicians, etc.); and (ii) producers of phonograms (persons or legal entities that take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of sounds).
This treaty cover the right of reproduction, distribution, rental rights and the right to make a work available to the public. It was adopted in Geneva on December 20, 1996.
About the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances
The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances was adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances, which took place in Beijing from June 20 to 26, 2012. The Treaty cover the intellectual property rights of performers in audiovisual performances.
It grants performers four kinds of economic rights for their performances fixed in audiovisual fixations, such as motion pictures: (i) the right of reproduction; (ii) the right of distribution; (iii) the right of rental; and (iv) the right of making available.