On Monday, the Electronic Information For Libraries petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to enact the 2022 Copyright Bill.
The National Assembly approved the Bill on July 22, 2022, and it updates and reforms Nigeria’s copyright laws. In order to build a creative, tech-friendly ecosystem, it encourages the use of works in the digital realm and offers additional exceptions for libraries, education, and individuals with disabilities.
The group points out that the new Bill would make it possible for libraries and other organizations that care for Nigeria’s cultural legacy to conserve Nigerian artistic expression for future generations. It would particularly encourage initiatives to protect Nigeria’s cultural heritage from challenges brought on by climate change, including an increase in fires and flooding as well as other calamities.
The Bill will promote instruction and learning in the modern era of technology. Since libraries have moved their operations online to promote education, research, and local communities, the COVID-19 epidemic has brought attention to the need for proper exceptions to permit online access to digital materials. The Bill’s appropriate balance of exclusions and mandatory licenses would allow Nigerian libraries and educational institutions to continue providing public services during upcoming pandemics or other emergencies.
According to the EIFL, the Bill promotes the human rights of those who are blind or visually impaired by implementing the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print impairments. For the benefit of Nigerians with print impairments both at home and among the diaspora living abroad, it would improve library services for people with disabilities and make it easier for cross-border exchange of accessible format copies.
The organisation said, “The exceptions in the Bill, including the updated fair dealing provision, are consistent with Nigeria’s international treaty obligations and are comparable to exceptions contained in the copyright laws of countries with successful publishing industries, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, EU Member States, and Singapore. These balanced limitations and exceptions will enhance the credibility of the copyright system in the eyes of the general public, and lead to greater compliance with the copyright laws.
“In 2021, the EIFL presented its comments on Nigeria’s Copyright Bill 2021 (Executive Bill) at a public hearing organised by the Nigerian Senate. The EIFL supported the 2021 bill and was pleased when the text was adopted by the legislature as Copyright Bill 2022 (SBs. 688 & 769). Now the final step is for the President to sign the Bill into law.”