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‘Amended broadcasting code infringes on copyright law’



Nkem Itanyi and Jade Kouletakis, copyright law experts, say the amendment to the broadcasting code restricting exclusive contents on platforms is an infringement on the country’s copyright law.

Some of the amendments to the code are registration of web/online broadcasting services and restriction of exclusive contents on platforms.

The amended code was launched in Lagos on August 4 despite opposition by stakeholders in the industry.

Speaking at a virtual conference with the theme, ‘Exclusivity in the media industry in Nigeria: Decoding NBC broadcasting code’ at the weekend, Itanyi said the provision for the sub-licensing of broadcast content in the code is at variance with the country’s copyright law.

The lecturer who teaches law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said section 10 of the copyright law allows content producers to license their products either partially or exclusively to any producer or distributor of their choice.

She said the NBC does not have the legal backing to determine who should acquire rights of such contents.

On her part, Kouletakis said the amended code would deny content creators ownership rights.

“By limiting the ability to exclusively license your content, it is beyond question that what the NBC code is doing is taking away that ownership right,” Kouletakis, who teaches at Abertay University, UK, said.


10 (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, copyright shall be transmissible by assignment, by testamentary disposition or by operation of law, as movable property. 

(2) An assignment or testamentary disposition of copyright may be limited so as to apply to only some of the acts which the owner of the copyright has the exclusive right to control, or to a part only of the period of the copyright, or to a specified country or other geographical area.

3) No assignment of copyright and no exclusive licence to do an act the doing of which is controlled by copyright shall have effect unless it is in writing.

(4) A non-exclusive licence to do an act the doing of which is controlled by copyright may be written or oral, or may be inferred from conduct.

(5) An assignment or licence granted by one copyright owner shall have effect as if granted by his co-owner also, and, subject to any contract between them, fees received by the grantors shall be divided equitably between all the co-owners.

(6) For the purposes of this subsection, persons shall be deemed to be co-owners— (a) if they share a joint interest in the whole or any part of a copyright; or (b) if they have interests in the various copyrights in a composite production, that is to say, a production consisting of two or more works.

(7) An assignment, licence or testamentary disposition may be effectively granted or made in respect of a future work or an existing work in which copyright does not yet subsist; and the prospective copyright in any such work shall be transmissible by operation of law as movable property.

(8) A testamentary disposition of material on which a work is first written or otherwise recorded shall, in the absence of any contrary indication, be presumed to include any copyright or prospective copyright in the work which is vested in the deceased.

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