Copyright Commission vows to improve Copyright System with newly approved Copyright Bill

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The Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. John O. Asein, has challenged music practitioners and rights managers in the country to make necessary changes in their business models to enable them take advantage of new opportunities offered by emerging digital platforms to boost the returns on their intellectual and financial investments.

Asein spoke about this while addressing participants at a Sensitisation Webinar on the US Music Modernization Act (MMA) organised by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the United States Copyright Office on 27 August 2020.

He further informed participants that the focus of the webinar was to enlighten stakeholders in the music industry on the new Act, noting that “the US Music Modernization Act shows how a country can, through appropriate legislative intervention, take advantage of consumer trends and leverage on technological development”.

The Director-General seized the opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the new Nigerian Copyright Bill which has already been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) will largely renew the Nigerian copyright system. “It will certainly equip the Commission and right owners with the required tools to better address the new challenges posed by an ever-changing digital landscape and make it easier to check online abuses,” he said.

While observing that weak regulatory and administrative framework for rights management was part of the challenges facing the Nigerian music industry, he reiterated the government’s willingness to “provide the necessary legislative and regulatory support to achieve a strong, balanced and efficient copyright system that works for the benefit of the creative industries”.

Speaking at the webinar, Assistant General Counsel, US Copyright Office, Mr. John Riley, stated that in a bid to streamline copyright related issues in music to address emerging challenges of new forms of technology for digital streaming, the United States signed the Music Modernization Act into law on 11th October 2018.

He added that the MMA which will come into force on 1st January 2021 has provisions for the music licensing process to enable right holders to be remunerated when their music is streamed online.

Mr. Riley explained that music authors and composers across the globe were required under the Act to register with the Mechanical Licencing Collective (MLC) to enable them enjoy due remuneration for their music when streamed in the digital environment. According to him, “The MLC is a structure set up and covered by the Act which ensures that royalties will actually be collected and distributed”.

The webinar was moderated by Ms. Aurelia Schultz, Counsel, Policy and International Affairs, US Copyright Office and Mr. Mike Akpan, Director, Nigerian Copyright Academy (NCA).

Prominent industry stakeholders who participated in the webinar included representatives of the following associations: Music Publishers Association of Nigeria (MPAN), Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN), Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and the Intellectual Property Law Association of Nigeria (IPLAN).

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