Copyright protection is afforded to certain “works” under S.1. of the Copyright Act, Nigeria.

The term “work” includes literary, musical and artistic works, cinematograph films, sound recordings and broadcasts.

Only if a “work” falls into the following categories will it attract copyright protection in Nigeria.

Literary Work:
includes irrespective of literary quality, any of the following works or works similar thereto:

i. Novels, stories and poetical works;

ii. Plays, stage directions, film scenarios and broadcasting scripts;

iii. Choreographic works;

iv. Computer programmes;

v. Text-books, treatises, histories, biographies, essays and articles;

vi. Encyclopaedias, dictionaries, directories and anthologies;

vii. Letters, reports and memoranda;

viii. Lectures, addresses and sermons;

ix. Law reports, excluding decisions of courts; and

x. Written tables or compilation.

Musical Work:
means any musical work, irrespective of musical quality, and includes works composed for musical accompaniment.

Artistic Work:
includes, irrespective of artistic quality, any of the following works or works similar to them:

i. Paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, engraving and prints;

ii. Maps, plans and diagrams;

iii. Works of sculpture;

iv. Photographs not compromised in a cinematograph films;

v. Works of architecture in the form of buildings, models; and

vi. Works of artistic craftsmanship, pictorial woven tissues and articles of applied handicraft and industrial art.

Cinematograph Film:
includes the first fixation of a sequence of visual images capable of being shown as a moving picture and of being the subject of reproduction, and includes the recording of a sound track associated with the cinematograph film.

Sound Recording:
defined as the first fixation of a sequence of sound capable of being perceived aurally and of being reproduced but does not include a soundtrack associated with a cinematograph film

defined as sound or television broadcast by wireless telegraphy or wire of both by satellite or cable programmes and includes re-broadcast.

Even if a work falls into the above mentioned categories it will only be afforded copyright protection unless there is sufficient effort has been expended on making the work and the work must be fixed in a definite medium from which it can be perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated. In other words the work must be both original and in a fixed form to obtain copyright protection.

Other than photographs, Copyright in Literary, Musical and Artistic works lasts for seventy years after the years in which the author dies or in the case of a corporate body, seventy years after the end of the year in which the work was first published.

For Cinematographic films, Sound recordings and photographs, copyright lasts for fifty years after the recording was first made and fifty years after the photograph was taken. Finally, for Broadcast works, copyright lasts for fifty years after the end of the year in which the broadcast first takes places.

Next time we will look at who can claim copyright in Nigeria and how Copyright is administered in Nigeria.