July 27, 2021

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‘Expedite action on Copyright Bill’

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By Ozolua Uhakheme, Assistant Editor (Arts)

 

Chairman, Nigeria Book Fair Trust (NBFT) Mr. Gbadega Adedapo has called on National Assembly to expedite action in passing the Nigerian Copyright Repeal Bill into law in no distant time. This, he said, would send a great warning to book pirates and copyright violators through effective sanctions and stiffer penalties as appropriate.

The Copyright (Repeal) Bill, as approved by the Federal Executive Council, was recently transmitted to the National Assembly for enactment into law. The Federal Executive Council, at its meeting of 13 June 2018 had considered and approved the draft Bill presented to it by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The new Bill, which aims to overhaul the copyright system in Nigeria, would, among other things, strengthen the enforcement mechanism against copyright violations through stiffer penal sanctions and more effective procedures better suited to the digital environment. It also addresses the country’s outstanding obligations under the relevant copyright treaties. The cardinal objectives of the Bill are to: protect the rights of authors to ensure just rewards and recognition for their intellectual efforts; provide appropriate limitations and exceptions to guarantee access to creative works; facilitate Nigeria’s compliance with obligations arising from relevant international copyright treaties; and enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for effective regulation, administration and enforcement.

Adedapo spoke in Lagos on Thursday, while unveiling activities for this year’s Nigeria International Book Fair (NIBF) holding between July 27 and 29 at the Harbour Point Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos State.

He stated that this year’s fair theme Awakening the giant in women for the growth of the book ecosystem was chosen to provide ample opportunities to unlock the potentials of women in the book industry who are always at the backend. He noted that the theme is very timely as the guest speaker at the fair is a woman and President International Publishers Association, Geneva, Switzerland Sheikha Bodour Al-Qasimi.

Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila will be Special Guest of Honour at the fair, while first lady of Ekiti State, Her Excellency, Erelu Bisi Fayemi will be chairperson of the fair. This year’s fair which will be virtual and physical will have Governor of Lagos State Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as Chief Host while official opening of NIBF 2021 and tour of exhibition stands will be conducted by first lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibironke Sanwo-Olu alongside notable personalities.

Adedapo disclosed that from next year, there will be awards for members of constituent bodies and will include categories such as Best Author, Best Bookseller, Best Literary Work, Best Printer, Best Librarian, Best Publisher among others. This, he noted, will drive more participation in subsequent editions adding that the selection criteria and award committee shall be unfolded soonest.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: Bill to repeal Copyright Act scales second reading in Senate

“The programmes for the book fair have been carefully put together to harmonise the interest of women, discuss the strategies to empower women in the book value-chain for the benefits of all and sundry and it is believed that Africa would take a cue from facts, opinions and working strategies that would be shared at the event. The Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), as well as the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) will organise expository workshops during the fair.

There will be concurrent seminars by major associations such as the Nigerian Publishers Association, The Booksellers Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Library Association, Association of Nigerian Authors and Chartered Institute of Professional Printers of Nigeria for their members in the course of the book fair,” he added.

He stated that apart from the latest directory of members that will be launched by the Booksellers Association of Nigeria, the latest book by Secretary-General Pan African Writers Association (PAWA), Dr. Wale Okediran will also be launched at the book fair.

As part of activities to cater for the interest of the children, Spelling Bee and Mathematics competitions have been lined up for participating schools in the state.