NGO urges Buhari to Sign copyright bill

On Monday, the Electronic Information For Libraries petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) to sign the 2022 Copyright Bill into law.

The National Assembly passed the Bill on July 22, 2022, overhauling and modernizing Nigeria's copyright system. It encourages the use of works in the digital environment in order to foster a creative, tech-friendly ecosystem, and it adds new exceptions for libraries, education, and people with disabilities.

According to the organization, the new Bill will enable Nigerian libraries and other cultural heritage institutions to preserve Nigerian creative expression for future generations. It will bolster efforts to protect Nigerian cultural heritage from threats posed by climate change, such as increased fires and flooding, as well as other disasters.

The Bill will promote digital education and teaching. As libraries shifted their operations online to support education, research, and local communities, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for appropriate exceptions to enable online access to digital resources. The Bill contains the right balance of exceptions and mandatory licenses to ensure that libraries and educational institutions in Nigeria can continue to serve the public in the event of a pandemic or other emergency.

According to the EIFL, the Bill protects the human rights of people who are blind or visually impaired by implementing the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities. It will improve library services for people with disabilities and facilitate the cross-border exchange of accessible format copies for Nigerians with print disabilities both at home and in the diaspora.

"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 copyright laws of countries with successful publishing industries, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, EU Member States, and Singapore," according to the organization. These balanced limitations and exceptions will increase the public's trust in the copyright system and lead to greater compliance with copyright laws.

"In 2021, at a public hearing organized by the Nigerian Senate, the EIFL presented its comments on Nigeria's Copyright Bill 2021 (Executive Bill). The EIFL supported the 2021 bill and was pleased when the text was adopted as Copyright Bill 2022 by the legislature (SBs. 688 & 769). The Bill will now be signed into law by the President."

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