How to Copyright Music in Nigeria

Mathew Ekundayo - Admin

To copyright a piece of music is not as difficult as people think. Music is automatically copyrighted the moment it is created in a tangible medium like on paper or on audio recording. But it is recommended that you register it as soon as you complete the work. That way, you will have “prima facie” evidence that you were the first to create the work.

Under copyright laws, you can copyright music, lyrics, or both. You are also permitted to copyright a new song or new version or arrangement of an existing song. However, the song must be your original work, created by you, and shown to have a minimal amount of creativity. Chord progressions or song titles are not covered under copyright law. If you make an audio recording, you can copyright the sound recording with the copyright to the song itself.

 


Copyright Protection in Nigeria

A copyright is a legal right that grants the creator of an original work exclusive right to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time. Exclusive rights are not absolute; they are subject to certain limitations.

In Nigeria, copyright is governed by the Copyright Act, and the body charged with the enforcement and protection of copyright is the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

The ownership of copyright is vested in the creator of a copyrighted work, usually referred to as the “author” of the work. He/she owns the copyright in the work in the first instance. However, the author is at liberty to transfer his rights to a third party. In such a case, the person who has obtained the right by transfer or other legal means becomes the owner of the copyright.

What is eligible for copyright protection?

  • Literary works;
  • Musical works;
  • Artistic works;
  • Cinematograph works;
  • Sound recording; and
  • Broadcasts

 

For it to be eligible for protection, the work must be sufficiently original and must be in a form that is expressed e.g. in writing, a painting, a musical recording, etc. You can’t have copyright protection over something in your head, which has not been expressed. Originality and expression are the key pillars for eligibility.

The rights enjoyed by the owner of the Copyright are limited. The author of a work does not own his Copyright indefinitely. The author of a musical work enjoys copyright throughout his lifetime and for 70 years after his death.

 


Do you need to register a copyright?

It should be noted that registering for copyright is not a precondition for protection. You do not have to register your copyright. It subsists automatically in a work from the moment the work is created.

However, the NCC has established a voluntary copyright registration scheme designed to enable authors and right owners to notify the Commission of the creation and existence of a work.

The NCC justifies the establishment of this scheme based on the following benefits:

  • It provides an independent source of verifying data relating to a work or its author to the general public;
  • The acknowledgment certificate issued provides prima facie evidence of the facts shown on it;
  • It provides a depository for preserving original copies of works notified;
  • The information and data contained in the Notification database offer reliable rights management information to members of the public and prospective licensees to the work.

 


How copyright protects your work

It prevents people from:

  • copying your work
  • distributing copies of it, whether free of charge or for sale
  • renting or lending copies of your work
  • performing, showing, or playing your work in public
  • making an adaptation of your work
  • putting it on the internet

 


 

Benefits of Musical Copyright: Reasons To Register

Curious about the benefits of music copyright?

  • Certificate of Registration
  • The Most Effective Way to Fight Infringement
  • Allows You to File Grievances
  • Eligible to Collect More
  • Public Record of Ownership
  • Prima Facie Evidence
  • Importation Protection
  • It Helps Avoids Legal Issues
  • Avoids Collaboration Disputes
  • Saves You Time & Money
  • Leave a Legacy

 


Copyright Registration Process

You can register a copyright with the NCC by submitting a completed registration form, along with two (2) copies of the work, and evidence of payment of the prescribed fee. Registration can be done online or physically at the NCC office.

Normally, each work should have its own copyright registration. However, someone may register works as a collection on one copyright with one title for the entire collection, as in the case of a music album with several songs.  A movie in parts will be treated as separate works.

Copyright protection is essentially territorial in nature. By virtue of membership in certain international copyright treaties and conventions, works of Nigerian citizens enjoy protection in territories of member countries of such treaties to which Nigeria is a party, including the Berne Convention.

 


 

Right of an Author or Copyright Owner of a work

The rights which an author or copyright owner enjoys in a work include the right to be acknowledged in any use made of his work and also to prevent any derogatory use; alteration; distortion or mutilation of same (referred to as moral rights).

More importantly, the author enjoys the right to earn money from his work by determining the condition under which the work may be commercially used by a third party (economic rights).

An author whose music is copyrighted can prohibit or authorize the following acts;

  1. The reproduction of the work in various forms such as printed publication, photocopying, or making a recording in any media.
  2. The public performance of work such as staging a play in a theatre.
  3. The recording of work in the form of compact disks, cassettes, videotapes, etc.
  4. The broadcasting of the work by radio, cable or satellite.
  5. The translation of the work into other languages or its adaptation such as from a novel to a screenplay.
  6. The distribution of the work commercially by way of sales, hiring or rental.

 

Infringement of Copyright

The owners of works whose copyrights have been infringed upon may demand that the person infringing their copyrights stop the infringement, deliver all originals and copies of the infringed work to them, and pay compensation for use of their work.

They may also request that the person infringing their work enter into an agreement with them for use of their work in the future.

If the person infringing the work ignores the owner or fails to adequately compensate him for use of his work, the owner may commence an action at the Federal High Court where the infringement occurred to seek damages for infringement of his copyrights and injunction restraining the person from continuing his acts of infringement.

 


How to Copyright Musical works in Nigeria

To copyright a piece of music is not as difficult as people think. Music is automatically copyrighted the moment it is created in a tangible medium like on paper or on audio recording. But it is recommended that you register it as soon as you complete the work. That way, you will have “prima facie” evidence that you were the first to create the work.

Under copyright laws, you can copyright music, lyrics, or both. You are also permitted to copyright a new song or new version or arrangement of an existing song. However, the song must be your original work, created by you, and shown to have a minimal amount of creativity. Chord progressions or song titles are not covered under copyright law. If you make an audio recording, you can copyright the sound recording with the copyright to the song itself.

 


Need Assistance with Music Copyright? We Can Help.

Copyright is the exclusive right granted by a statute to an author (i.e., an artist, writer, publisher, musician, performer) of certain works to control the doing of some acts in relation to the said work.

While it's possible to copyright music on your own, it can be a complicated process when it's challenging to understand copyright laws. Let us help you sort through the red tape and handle all your music copyright needs.

Register and protect music from theft and plagiarism

1710Media provides the fastest and most affordable way for you to protect yourself and your copyrights. We streamline the process and error-proof your applications so you can avoid making expensive mistakes.

Our service includes the preparation, review, e-filing, and handling of correspondence until you receive your certificates of registration.

  • Register and protect music from theft and plagiarism.
  • We file your application with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
  • Our service includes the preparation, review, e-filing, and delivery of your certificate of registration.
  • Receive an Official Copyright Certificate. Valid for your lifetime plus a minimum of 50 years after.
  • Register your songs, albums, beats, lyrics, and other musical projects.
  • Enjoy protection in Nigeria and 178+ other territories.
  • Registration will protect your songs, lyrics & music and will last for the whole of your lifetime plus a minimum of fifty years after your death.

Get Started Today!

 

 


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