To celebrate the appointment of Dr Tonye Clinton Jaja as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), the first-ever National Copyright Moot Competition was put together in his honour. This was powered by the Association of Legislative Drafters and Advocacy Practitioner (ALDAP) to which the new Chairman belongs.
The National Copyright Moot Competition which coincides with the 30th Anniversary of the NCC is chaired by Senator Iyere Ihenyen, an intellectual property lawyer and Lead Partner at Infusion Lawyers. The Competition enjoyed the support of individuals and organizations, including Mr John Onyido who is Senior Partner at SPA Ajibade & Co and Prof. Abiodun Amuda-Kannike SAN who is Provost at the College of Law, Kwara State University.
The Moot Court Competition on copyright law was amongst law students of six law faculties including Ahmadu Bello University, Obafemi Awolowo University, the University of Abuja, the University of Benin, the University of Ibadan, and the University of Ilorin.
The competition was held at the Federal Customary Court of Appeal, Utako on 19th August 2019. In attendance were over 50 students, Chairman of the Board of the commission, intellectual property lawyers among others.
The competition was presided by Barrister Folarin Aluko, Managing Partner, Trumann Rockwood LP, RUMANN ROCKWOOD LP; Director of Intellectual Property Institute of Nigeria (IPIN); and Director of the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association of Nigeria (IPLAN). Other judges included Barristeer Marx Ikongbeh, Principal Partner, Everlaw Associates and Barrister Chiamaka Anagu, Senior Associate and Sector Head of Intellectual Property & Dispute Resolution, Sporthouse.
The court registrar of the competition was Senator Iyere Ihenyen, Chairperson of the National Copyright Moot Competition; Lead Partner, Infusion Lawyers. Other attendees included Guest Lecturer, John Onyido, Partner, SPA Ajibade, Guest Book Reviewer, Prof. Abiodun Amuda-Kannike, SAN, Dr Tonye Clinton Jaja (Board Chairman of NCC), Hon. Justice Jonah Stephen Adah, Justice, Court Of Appeal, Abuja Division, Director of the Copyright Institute NCC, Vice-Chancellor, Edwin Clark University, Students of the six law faculties amongst others.
The competition started by 12 noon with counsels representing the Plaintiff/Appellant and at least one counsel for the Respondent from the six team.
The counsels for the Appellant and Respondent presented their argument clearly, concisely and well researched while tendering their prayers to the court.
The case in dispute: A copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Creative Mind Ltd (Appellant) against Omega Globe Ltd (Respondent) alleging that Omega Globe illegally and unlawfully copied CreativeX’s art, musical, and literary works, thus amounting to copyright infringement under the Nigerian Copyright Act.
The Plaintiff sought damages for loss of profits and an injunction to restrain the continued publication and sharing of the art, musical, and literary works in dispute.
Following the lawsuit, Turaki J of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, found the following and held in favour of the Defendant, Omega Media, in refusing to find a case of copyright infringement.
Creative Mind Ltd indicates its desire to appeal the findings made by the trial judge, Turaki J.
The argument was greatly obliged by the counsels where:
The Appellant argued the following:
“Murphy J erred in law in finding that there was not a case of copyright infringement in respect of the AI-created art, musical, and literary works in question. In particular, Turaji J erred in failing to find that the use, publication, and sharing of works eligible for copyright without the creator’s due permission amounts to copyright infringement, resulting in loss of profits suffered by the Appellant.”
The Respondent argued the following:
“Turaki J was correct in refusing the Plaintiff/Appellant’s argument for copyright infringement on the basis of lack of authorship under Nigerian copyright Law and calls upon the court to uphold the decision of the Federal High Court.”
At the end of each court trials, the Judges’ asked questions and counsel responded accordingly.
As communicated by the Panel of Judges, pronouncement of judgment will be at a later date with three winners. The Winning Team will receive N500,000 while the Second Prize winner will receive N300,000 and the third Prize Winner will receive N200,000.
Certificate of participation were presented to all participants of the six schools as the competition come to a close.
NLIPW News Reporter, Nathaniel Adebayo, who was present at the event spoke with some of the participants including Mackson Ode (UNIBEN), Mohammed Zayyad (UNIABUJA), who expressed their overwhelming happiness on how the competition was organized and stressed the fact that they learned something new about copyright infringement case, court proceedings, IP from the day.
Barrister Senator Iyere Ihenyen, Chairperson of the National Copyright Moot Competition; Lead Partner, Infusion Lawyers, who expressed his appreciation to the Chairman, Governing Board of NCC, Director General and all presents at the event.
“We thank God It was successfully concluded and the goals were truly fulfilled” Ihenyen added.