Copyright infringement (at times referred to as piracy) is the use of works protected by copyright without permission for a usage where such permission is required, thereby infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work’s creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.
A typical example is the recent case of the popular actor, Adewole Ojo, who sued Airtel for using his picture for advert without his permission. The court ordered Airtel to pay 20 million naira as damages to him.

It is important to note that copyright law does not protect the idea behind the work , but the expression of work . The fact that a latter work bears some similarity to an existing work does not amount to an infringement of copyright . The burden is always on the copyright owner to prove that his copyright has been infringed whether in part or in whole .

The agency that addresses the issue of copyright in Nigeria is the Nigerian Copyright Commission ( NCC) . The court vested with the jurisdiction to hear copyrights infringement disputes is the Federal High Court of Nigeria as provided by section 251 of the constitution Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended .


The remedies could either be Civil or Criminal .

Civil Remedies

Reliefs for copyright infringement under section 16 of the Act May include the following;

Damages : This could either be special or General Damages . In an action for infringement of copyright , the author needs not to prove actual damage as damages are at large . It could also consist of exemplary damages in certain cases and can inter alia be compensation for pain and suffering, loss of reputation or injured feelings .

Account for profit : This mandating the infringer to render account of the profit made from such infringement and to refund the
same to the owner of the work .

Injunction : is one of the most common remedies and may either be an interlocutory injunction or an interim injunction . An injunction is an equitable remedy which seeks to prevent a person from doing a particular thing or demands a person to do a particular thing .

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