Copyright as a form of IP protection


Today we would be looking at Copyright as a form of protection for your intellectual property.

Copyright is the exclusive legal right granted by a statute to an author of certain works to reproduce, publish or distribute the matter and form of something as a literary, musical or artistic work. An author in this sense can mean a writer, artist, publisher, musician, performer, photographer, architect, film maker, and sculptor. What is protected is the actual literal or artistic work of the author (take note of this) and not titles, ideas, concepts, procedures, methods or things of similar nature.

Once your work has a copyright, you as an author can prohibit or authorize the following acts;

– The reproduction of the work in various forms such as printed publication, photocopying or making a recording in any media;
– The public performance of work such as staging a play in a theatre;
– The recording of work in the form of compact disks, cassettes, videotapes, etc;
– The broadcasting of the work by radio, cable or satellite;
– The translation of the work into other languages or its adaptation such as from a novel to a screenplay;
– The distribution of the work commercially by way of sales, hiring or rental.
(Excerpts- The Nigerian Copyright e-Registration System)

Why should I register my work?

Whenever you create an original literary or artistic work, the copyright exists automatically and should not be infringed upon but, subsequent registration of the work with the Nigeria Copyright Commission is evidence that your creation is protected by copyright and record of this can be used as evidence in a court of law. Also the date of creation will be recorded so it makes it easier to prove infringement.

Also the author enjoys the right to be acknowledged whenever his work is used and it prevents any derogatory use; alteration; distortion or mutilation of same (referred to as moral rights). More importantly, he 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).
However, you can voluntarily transfer your right to the copyright to a third party.

How can I apply for copyright?

This can be done by filling the registration form which can be gotten online or at the commission’s office, and submitting it with two copies of the work you want to protect and proof of payment of the prescribed fee. Generally, the registration process takes 10 working days or less.

So as an author of any material both literary and artistic, it is always advisable you register a copyright to protect your work.


Published by Ronke Omorodion

I am a Legal Practitioner/Consultant. I inform entrepreneurs of the legal implications of doing business and help them build a structured legally sound business.

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