IP theft threatens Nigeria’s knowledge-based economy
The stark reality is that Nigeria wastes entirely too much money and time policing crimes like burglary, fraud, and bank-robbery when it should be doing something about intellectual piracy instead.
And this will not happen overnight, because Nigeria is still far from focusing on intellectual property (IP) a policy priority. At best, it is fighting IP theft in a cut and nail manner.
The draft Copyright Act will also be of little or no use because it protects global interests rather domestic- the cradle of creative ideas.The draft Copyright Act is mostly borrowed and Nigeria which recently ratified the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet Treaties and the Marrakesh Treaty for the Blind; is now bound to abide by the stipulations and restrictions embedded in them.
It may need to rejig the draft Copyright Act to protect locally created ideas and innovations.As Nigeria struggles with IP policy direction; intellectual piracy, which is stealing of the ideas of others and claiming them as your own, is threatening all the fabrics of the country’s life.
Currently, most copyright holders do not exploit rights derived from the copyright laws. In fact, they are not protected by law.Instead, government and big cooperates steal ideas in brazen manners and dare holders to do their worst.
The growing trend of IP theft is a major drain-pipe that threatens the achievement of knowledge based economy in Nigeria. Uche Nwoye, a legal practitioner said that “unless IP thefts being consciously put together in brazen manner by government and big firms are stemmed; majority of Nigerians will continue to be crushed under the merciless weight of poverty because the same government whose job it is to protect the intellectual property of its citizenry is usurping other people’s ideas; using same; and not giving credits to the originators of the ideas”
“IP thefts are so widespread now that it is threatening to overtake the menace of counterfeit drugs in Nigeria. It is a cankerworm” he said.But John Asein, director general, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), said that his commission is planning to introduce measures to provide more safe corridors for copyright works in Nigeria.
Tosin Bucknor, a writer, urged the federal government and national assembly to give the NCC the much needed impetus by quickly passing into law the Copyright bill.According to Bucknor, this is to enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Copyright Commission for effective administration and enforcement.She however insisted that the law must protect local ideas first and foremost.
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