Your copyright starts to exist the day you conceive an idea into a fixed form- Expert tells Music Ministers


By ‘Gbenga Bankole

The Assistant Director, Nigerian Copyright Commission, Elder Charles Amudipe has told Music Ministers that musical and artistic works must be original and fixed in a tangible medium of expression, saying the day you conceive an idea into a fixed form, your copyright starts to exist. 

He noted that the author must have created the work through direct and independent exertion or labour; without copying from another person.

He said the practical application of this principle means that copyright will not be infringed where two or more works based on the same ideas are created, provided that none is copied from the other, adding that somebody else had created a similar work in the past does not deny it copyright so long as there was independent skill and judgment. 

Elder Amudipe said this while ministering on the topic “Protecting Intellectual Properties in Music Ministry” on Thursday October 1, 2020 at the International Virtual Music Ministers’ Conference organized by the Music Directorate of CAC Worldwide.

According to him, within the period of copyright, the copyright owner has certain exclusive rights which are right to reproduce (copy) or publish the work, communicate it to the public, control distribution to the public by way of sales, hire, rental, broadcast the work, make an adaptation of it and where the author assigns (sells) his rights to a third party, that third party becomes the owner of the copyright as opposed to the original author.

Elder Amudipe who is also the Music Director of CAC Amuwo Odofin DCC headquarters stated that “The author of a work is also entitled to certain non-economic rights called “moral rights”. These include the right to be identified as the owner of the work (attribution) and the right to object to any derogatory treatment of the work. Moral Rights are reserved for the author and unlike the economic rights, they are perpetual and cannot be assigned.”

While commenting on ‘Why is Copyright Protected?’, the Musicologist said: ”one reason for the protection of copyright is the need to provide reward and incentives for authors and boost economic and cultural development. Authors will be motivated to create if they have the assurance that their works would be protected. A writer of a piece of music, for example, will be interested in knowing that his music piece will enjoy some form of protection if it is made available to the public. 

He said copyright is not a perpetual right and there are definite terms of protection, saying that the term of protection varies according to the type of work. 

Elder Amudipe further stressed that in the case of literary, musical or artistic works (other than photographs) the term is 70 years after the end of the year in which the author dies.

“In the case of cinematograph films and photographs it is 50 years after the end of the year in which the work was first published. Sound recordings and broadcasts are for 50 years after the end of the year in which sound recording was made or the broadcast first took place,” he said.

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