Reps Deputy Minority Leader, Okechukwu urges President Buhari to assent Copyright bill

Four months after the Copyright Act Repeal and Re-enactment Bill was passed by the National Assembly to provide for the effective regulation, protection and administration of copyright in the digital environment in line with global best practices, the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign it into law.

He said the bill, which was passed in July, is to provide for the effective regulation, protection and administration of copyright in the digital environment in line with global best practices.

Okechukwu made the call at the 2022 edition of the annual national conference and general meeting of the Nigerian Publishers Association, which held in Abuja.

Speaking at the event themed “Redefining Publishing and Reading Culture in a Digital Era”, he said the extant law was no longer good enough in a digital world, adding that it would be difficult to attract investment in the sector without a contemporary law to effectually regulate, protect, and administer copyright in the country.

While urging Nigerian Publishers Association to engage in more robust follow-up and advocacy on the Nigerian Copyright Bill to ensure presidential assent to it, Okechukwu pledged the readiness of the National Assembly to continue to use the instrumentality of the gavel to protect the intellectual property of the publishers and advance the welfare of Nigerians generally.

He extolled the role of publishers in the country’s development, especially in making quality books available to the masses.

“As a matter of fact, it is through reading that the world can develop and publishers are important medium in bringing that capacity to the public.

“It is through reading that you can appropriate the world because you can travel round the world without moving an inch. Reading can help you appropriate, import and export ideas. But because the world is fast evolving, we need up-to-date laws to encourage publishers, investors, and owners of intellectual property to do more,” the lawmaker stated.

Speaking earlier, the President and Chairman-in-Council of the Nigerian Publishers Association, Dr. Uche Anioke, equally appealed to President Buhari to save members from further copyright infringement and huge financial losses associated with piracy in the country.

While thanking both chambers of the National Assembly for passage of the Bill, the association noted that timely presidential assent would strengthen the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, in its efforts to reduce infringement of copyrights.

“While expressing appreciation to the Senate and House of Representatives for passing the copyright amendment Bill, it is not yet uhuru. Signing it into law is going to be a giant step in redefining copyright profession in Nigeria.

“The biggest plague we have is copyright infringement. It is so criminally done in this part of the world that a lot of publishers are almost going underground, and a timely passage of that Bill will strengthen the National Copyrights Commission, one body that has done so much in the fight against piracy”, Anioke stated.

The keynote speaker and Chairman of Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, Prof. Adamu Usman, said that time was ripe to navigate towards digital publishing in line with the theme of the conference.

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