An Evaluation Of Intellectual Property Rights Of The Film Industry And Its Implication On Socio-Economic Development In Nigeria (2014-2019)

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An Evaluation Of Intellectual Property Rights Of The Film Industry And Its Implication On Socio-Economic Development In Nigeria (2014-2019)


The research study examines the Intellectual Property Rights of the Nigerian Film Industry and Socio-economic Development with focus on the years 2014-2019.

The study adopted qualitative method and historical/analytical design was used in analyzing its data. Data were collected through secondary sources which include newspapers, archives, books, conference proceedings, etc.

The findings revealed that; Nollywood is the third largest movie industry in the world and has the potential of contributing greatly to the socio-economic development of Nigeria;. Although it is the third largest in the world, in reality it hasn’t contributed as much to the overall GDP of Nigeria;. Within the past five years (2014-2019) Nollywood has lost $2 to $3 Billion each year to film piracy;. Film Piracy is the greatest enemy to the film industry as it has brought about low quality movies, lower employment rate, less income earning and thus less tax payments.

The study concluded that, Film piracy is a major setback for Nollywood which it has been battling with for over 2 decades, Internet Piracy has become rampant over the years, and a huge percentage of Nigerians are not knowledgeable about intellectual property and the laws in the Copyright Act. The study further recommends that; The government should construct and develop filming locations and studios where film makers can shoot movies. The copyright Act should be reviewed, so as to include the rising issue of internet piracy. A department should be formed under the NCC to shut down all websites which upload copyright infringing items.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study.

Intellectual property refers to creative works of the human mind; such creations ranges from literary and artistic works to industrial and scientific works. Intellectual property rights grant creators exclusive rights over their works and prevents third parties from making use of such works without permission from the creator. Intellectual property is highly recognized and acknowledged globally in the 21st century and countries have taken up measures to ensure that the rights of creators and inventors are respected. Of course, there is no doubt that Intellectual property as we know it in modern times hasn’t always been the same as it has evolved over the years. As far back as 500 BC the Greek state of Sybaris permitted citizens to obtain a patent for “any new refinement in luxury.” The laws regulating copyright and trademarks since that era has evolved and has become more complicated as sanctions are placed all over the world for anyone who violates such laws (Klinck,2017).

Although such laws regulating Intellectual property (IP) have evolved, the intent for providing such laws back in 500 BC have been the same even to this day, which is to protect the interests of creators and to also promote creativity amongst citizens. In 1873 foreign exhibitors of the International Exhibition of Inventions held in Vienna, Austria, refused to attend the exhibition due to their fears that their ideas may be stolen and commercially and financially exploited by other countries (World Intellectual Property Organization, n.d.). It was recognized afterwards that there was a need for an international agreement which would protect the interests of inventors over their inventions.

On 20th March 1883, approximately 10 years after the Exhibition, the first formal convention protecting IP rights was signed by 11 countries, this Convention was called the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. This convention was the first major step taken by countries of the world to formally regulate the Protection of an aspect in intellectual property and the rights given to Inventors over their inventions. The Convention was later amended on 28 September 1979. The Convention which had 11 countries signed as parties to it now, has in 2019 177 countries as Parties (World Intellectual Property Organization, 2019).

A Second Convention which protects literary and artistic works was established which is known as The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. It was signed on September 9, 1886 following a campaign led by Victor Hugo, the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale (Graham, 2008). The Convention entered into force in December 1887. It was through this convention that is was established that copyright is granted the moment an art is fixed into a medium of expression.

Prior to 1886, copyright wasn’t applicable internationally. Using Nigeria as an example, a work written in Nigeria has copyright within Nigeria but the same work could be copied and sold for commercial purposes by another in Ghana. The 1886 Berne Convention therefore made certain modifications to such practices. The Convention was signed in 1886 by 10 countries. In 2019, that has increased enormously as 177 countries are signed as parties to the treaty (WIPO, 2019).

Following the establishment of the two international conventions stated earlier, an international organization was set up in 1893 to govern/administer the conventions. This was known as the United International Bureau for the Protection of Intellectual Property (BIRPI). The convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, adopted on July 14 1967, brought about the existence of the intergovernmental body known today as World Intellectual Property (WIPO). BIRPI was the predecessor of WIPO, which it succeeded by 87 years. WIPO became a specialized agency of the United Nations in 1974 and all member states of the United Nations are entitled to join WIPO but it is not obligatory. In 1992, 52 states were members of the organization (Bogsch, 1992).

Due to the rising recognition of the benefits of intellectual property across the world, several countries have ratified to conventions protecting Intellectual Property. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is not excluded. Nigeria ratified to several treaties which protect Intellectual property rights. The first IP related treaty that Nigeria ratified to after its Independence was the 1883 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property on September 2, 1963. The Federation many years later ratified to The 1886 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works on September 14, 1993 (WIPO, 1993).

Not only has Nigeria ratified to treaties protecting Intellectual property related rights, it has also enacted certain Laws for itself as a Federation. In 1990 Nigeria’s National Assembly enacted a Trade Marks Act (Chapter 436). In 1990 also Nigeria enacted a Patents and Designs Act of 1971 (Chapter 344). Nigeria also enacted the Copyright Act (Chapter C.28, as amended) in 2004 (Olubanwo & Oguntuase, 2019).

Intellectual property rights as stated earlier are recognized as being beneficial not only to the creators but also to the development of countries. For the purpose of this research on the Evaluation of the Intellectual property rights of Nigerian film industry and socio-economic and political development. The research will be conducted and focused on Nigeria. Even though Nigeria has put in place certain copyright laws to protect its film industry, this study seeks to evaluate its laws in relation to Socio-economic and political rights.

1.2 Statement of the Problem.

The film industry is one of the strategic industries which a country can use to bring about socio-economic development for itself e.g. the UK and USA. The UK’s film industry has contributed to the socio-economic advancement of the region. In the year 2009 the film industry had employed a total of over 36,000 people, creating employment opportunities for people (British Film Institute,2010). In 2015 the film industry contributed over £5.1 billion to UK GDP, in 2016 it rose up to 20% resulting to £6.1 billion (British Film Institute,2018). In the USA, the film industry (Hollywood) employed over 2.3 million people, which payed a total wage of $177 billion. Hollywood generated in 2017, $229 billion with the sales of its films and TV series (Motion Pictures Association, 2018).

With Nollywood being rated as the third largest in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood, it is expected to bring about development for the country, unfortunately, this is not the situation on ground. In 2016, Nollywood contributed 2.3% to Nigeria’s GDP (N239 Billion). The National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) estimates that Nollywood contributed about 1.4% to the GDP in 2013 and 2014. Nollywood also employed 250,000 people. Nollywood suffers, as the return on investment from movies made is not so much due to high rates of film piracy and unauthorized selling of films produced. Oludayo (2016) reported that Nollywood looses an estimation of $2 Billion every year. The NCC in its report released in 2018 explained that the sum of N1, 260,646,600.00, which was the total value of pirated materials removed in the course of the anti-piracy operations in the year 2017, (PunchNG, 2018).

The Nigerian Copyright Commission launched a campaign in 2005 Strategic Action Plan against Piracy (STRAP) and Copyright Litigation and Mediation Program (CLAMP). In 2011, the NCC undertook 26 anti-piracy raids, made 145 arrests and seized over 6 million pirated works (Ezekude,2012). Though the Commission has taken measures to fight against piracy, the problem of infringement is still prominent in the country. A contributing factor is digital technology which has led to an increase in online piracy of movies. Another contributing problem is the inadequate funding of the Commission itself to execute policies. Copyright infringement has a far-reaching effect on the creativity in Nigeria. Infringement of copyright laws could discourage a lot of film makers from producing films in the country.

This research seeks to provide solutions to copyright infringement and how the government can utilize the resources brought in through Nollywood to bring about development. This study would apply 2 methods of research, interviewing of a few Nollywood actors and film makers as well as questionnaires to the public. The combination of the two would help in bringing about recommendable solutions to the problem of copyright infringement.

1.3 Objectives of the Study.

The primary objectives of this research are to evaluate the Intellectual property rights of the Nigerian Film Industry and socio-economic and political development in Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:

  1. Identify the nature of intellectual property rights protection in Nigeria.
  2. Investigate the rate of film piracy in Nigeria between 2014-2019.
  3. Observe the roles played by the Nigerian Copyright Commission to curb proliferation of piracy and protection of copyright in Nigeria.
  4. Examine the challenges of intellectual property rights protection in Nigeria.
  5. Provide policy actions that will protect the intellectual property rights of Nollywood.

1.4 Research Questions.

During the conduct of the research, the project seeks to provide answers to the following;

  1. What is the nature of intellectual property rights protection in Nigeria?
  2. What has been the rate of film piracy of 2014-2019?
  3. What are the roles played by the Nigerian Copyright Commission in curbing piracy and in guaranteeing the protection of copyright in Nigeria?
  4. What are the challenges of intellectual property rights protection in Nigeria?
  5. What are the policy actions that can be taken to protect the intellectual property of Nollywood?

1.5 Significance of the Study.

This study addresses issues facing Nollywood in copyright infringement, its effects and how these infringements can be properly dealt with by providing solutions to piracy in Nigeria. This study would be useful in identifying the ways in which the influence of Nollywood globally can be maximized by the Nigerian government to develop the country. In the course of this study, questionnaires would be administered to the public, the administration of these would serve as a general view of recommendations which would be made to the government. This study will also evaluate how proper implementation of copyright laws can contribute to the socio-economic and political development in Nigeria. This Study will be beneficial to Students, the government and also Nollywood film makers and actors. It will be useful to students for future references in their academic reports. It will be useful to the NCC as it would provide recommendations which could be applied in the enforcement of copyright laws. It would be useful to Nollywood film makers and actors as the fight against piracy would benefit them financially and enable them benefit fully from the investments made into the making of films.

1.6 Scope of Study.

The topic for this research is an Evaluation of Intellectual property of the film industry and socio-economic and political development. The aspect of intellectual property that will be studied specifically is Copyright, which deals with literary and artistic works, with films being an artistic work, it is hereby protected by copyright. The time frame, 2014-2019, was chosen to evaluate the copyright of Nollywood films and its development to Nigeria, within the past 5 years. The Nigerian film industry (Nollywood) is the focus of this study this is because it is the third biggest film industry globally. The creativity of individuals is properly protected by the national government as it serves as a means of generating revenue for the culture while also bringing about socio-economic development for the country. Nollywood is challenged by several problems due to its large sphere of influence. Nollywood movies are watched all around Africa and even overseas in countries Brazil, United Kingdom, Jamaica and United States of America amongst others. Some of the challenges faced by Nollywood are the issues of piracy, making unauthorized copies of movies and selling of such copies for personal profit without approval from the creators which would undermine the return on investment for film makers in the industry. Thus, Nollywood spends millions of naira on the making of films but are unable to reap the profits due to the poor implementation of the copyright laws of Nigeria.

1.7 Organization of the Study.

This research project shall consist of 5 chapters. The first chapter gives the introduction at which the basic assumption and concept of study are explained. The second chapter of the study contains the literature review whereby interpretation and scholarly work are examined from various perspectives. The chapter three contains the methodology of the research work, while chapter four contains the presentation, analysis and interpretation of data. Chapter five of the study includes the summary, findings, conclusions and recommendations to the study.

1.8 Definition of Terms.

The following terms were relevant and used to this course of study;

Intellectual property refers to creative works of the human mind, this ranges from literary and artistic works to physical property. In contrast to physical property, intellectual property is an intangible asset of a person (Sharma, 2014).

Intellectual property rights refer to the rights which protect the interests of innovators and creators by giving them rights over their creations (WIPO, 2016). Such rights grant a creator or author the exclusive right to prevent third parties from making or selling their works without authorization.

Copyright is an aspect of intellectual property which covers the protection of literary and artistic works. According to Kunle Ola (2014); it covers literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works, it also covers broadcasts, sound recording and cinematograph film works.

An Evaluation Of Intellectual Property Rights Of The Film Industry And Its Implication On Socio-Economic Development In Nigeria (2014-2019)

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An Evaluation Of Intellectual Property Rights Of The Film Industry And Its Implication On Socio-Economic Development In Nigeria (2014-2019)


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