Home Campus News Crimes and Justice series 5; Infringement of a Copyright

Crimes and Justice series 5; Infringement of a Copyright

Crimes and Justice series 5; Infringement of a Copyright

A copyright is a legal device given solely to an author of a literary, artistic, musical or other creative works on the right to publish and sell such work.

Copyright owners have the exclusive right to determine the reproduction of their works, including the right to receive payment for that reproduction.

An author may grant or sell those rights to others, including publishers or recording companies.

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Copyright is one of the legal devices that made up what is called “intellectual property” and any form of Violation of a copyright is called “infringement”.

Relatively, the basic concept behind copyright is originality. So, a copyright represents something that has originated from a particular author and not from another.

Copyrights, patents, and trademarks are all examples of what is known in the law as Intellectual Property which are to be discussed in subsequent series.

As the media on which artistic and intellectual works are recorded have changed with time, copyright protection has equally been extended from the printing of text to many other means of recording original expressions. Besides books, stories, periodicals, poems, and other printed literary works, copyright may protect computer programs; musical compositions; song lyrics; dramas; dramatico-musical compositions; pictorial, graphic, sculptural works; architectural works; written directions for pantomimes; choreographic works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works and sound recordings.

The duration for the protection of a copyright under the law varies from one country to another depending on their respective Legislations.

Some countries give the term to be for when the creator of the idea is alive plus 70 years after death. In such countries too, if the creator is a corporation, then the term is 95 years from publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter. If not renewed, they will fall into the public domain.

Copyright cases typically involve disputes between competing private interests: an author against someone who has copied the author’s work without permission. However, the outcome of such cases often has significant repercussions for the general public as well. One such case with significant public effect was Basic Books versus Kinko’s Graphics Corp., 758 F. Supp. 1522 (S.D.N.Y. 1991), which dealt with the question of whether photocopy stores may sell copied excerpts of books to college students without authorization from the books’ publishers. The decision in the case ultimately affected the price that the public must pay for access to copyrighted information.

The regulating laws of this offence under the Nigerian Legislations are the Criminal code act, Penal code act and Copyright act. The offence is being recognized as Infringement of Copyright and termed as simple offence except under the penal code act where it swings between simple offence or misdemeanor.

The center knot to determine the offence of copyright Infringement is the underlying intention to reproduce and distribute another person’s idea of expression without acquiring the consent of the Original Author. Profit making or not is irrelevant except where the reproduction is made for FAIR USE which is a judicial principle that simply connote reproduction for the purpose of aiding accessibility of the original work i.e converting texts work to Audio for the Blinds amongst others.

Conclusively, punishment for the offence of copyright Infringement is IMPRISONMENT or FINE or both. The imprisonment may extends to Five years. The punishment also includes a court order to destroy the reproduced copies or deliver them to the Original Creator/Author.

Further readings

Electronic Frontier Foundation. 1995. To Have and to Hold: Can Copyrights Extend to Cyberspace Without Increased Costs and Threats to Privacy? (June 8).
Section 491, 492, 493 criminal code act LFRN 1990
Section 25, 26, 27 Copyright Act,chapter 68, LFRN 1990
Section 426 penal code act LFRN 1990

These are just the author’s opinion on the written article and will not be liable for any inconsistency therewith.

SAHEED, Afeez Ayinde
Deemlawful is a pupil of law, University of Ilorin, Blogger | Analyst | Legal | Professional | Activist |
Can be reached via:
deemlawful@gmail.com or +2349093862098

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