Copyright: The Concept of Fair Use in Nigeria

Copyright and the Concept of Fair Use in Nigeria by Opeyemi Adesegun

Copyright is a legal means of protecting an author's work. It is a type of intellectual property that provides exclusive publication, distribution, and usage rights for the author. This means that whatever content the author created cannot be used or published by anyone else without the consent of the author. 

The length of copyright protection may vary from country to country, but it usually lasts for the life of the author plus 50 to 100 years. Also, many different types of content can be protected by copyright. Examples include books, poems, plays, songs, films and artwork. In modern times, copyright protection has been extended to websites and other online content. Therefore, any original content published on the Web is protected by copyright law. This is important in the digital age we live in, since large amounts of content can be easily copied and pasted.

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The exception of fair use is the most significant exception to copyright control. According to the Second Schedule of the Copyright Act 2004 which reads

(a) the doing of any of the acts mentioned in the said Section 6 by way of fair dealing for purposes of research, private use, criticism or review or the reporting of current events, subject to the condition that, if the use is public, it shall be accompanied by an acknowledgement of the title of the work and its authorship except where the work is incidentally included in a broadcast.

Therefore, one factor that the courts would consider in determining "fair dealing" is the value of the portion taken relative to the work from which it is taken. Accordingly, substantially is in relation not only to the quantity taken but also in relation to the value of the portion taken of the work.

Fair dealing is the same as the concept of fair use. "Fair dealing" means that the dealing with the work must be genuine and reasonable. Thus, fair dealing with a work for purposes of criticism and review does not infringe.




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