Intellectual property is a work of creativity which accrues legal right that results from intellectual activities in the industrial, scientific, literary and the artistic field. The legal right which may be asserted in respect of the product of the human intellect, that area of the law which concerns legal right associated with creative effort or commercial reputation and goodwill and a branch of law which protects some of the finer manifestation of human achievement. Intellectual property is the legal right conferred on those who engage in creative, inventive and promotional activities which have resulted in original, useful or other beneficial output. Such outcome is classified as a form of property, albeit of the intangible, incorporeal variety.
It must be noted that according to the convention establishing the world Intellectual Property Organisation, intellectual property shall include rights relating to literary, artistic and scientific works; performances of performing artistes; phonograms and broadcasts; inventions in all fields of human endeavour; scientific discoveries; industrial designs, trademark, service mark, commercial names and designations; protection against unfair competition and all other rights resulting from intellectual activities in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic field.
In the eyes of the Nigerian law these rights are categorized into two parts: copyright and neighbouring rights on the one hand, industrial property right on the other.
ELIGIBILITY OF WORKS
It is not all works of creativity that are protected by the intellectual property law of of the Nigerian federation. The law has laid down specifically the types of “works” which are recognised and enjoy statutory protection. Section 1 subsection 1 of the Copyright Act states that all “Works” are protected by the act which are literary works, musical works, artistic works, cinematograph film, sound recording, Broadcast etc.
Literary works includes, irrespective of literary quality, any of the following works or works similar thereto: Novels, stories and poetic works.
Plays, stage directions, film scenarios and broadcasting scripts.
Textbooks, treaties, histories, biographies, essays and articles
Encyclopaedias, dictionaries, directories and anthologies
Letters, reports and memoranda
Lecture, addresses and sermons
Law reports,excluding decision of courts and
Written tables or compilation.
Musical works means any work irrespective of musical quality and includes works composed for musical accompaniment.
Artistic works includes, irrespective of artistic quality, any of the following works or works similar thereto –
Painting, drawing, etching, lithographs, woodcuts, engraving and prints;
Maps, plan and diagrams;
Works of sculpture;
Photographs not comprised in a cinematograph film
Works of architecture in the form of buildings, model and
Works of artistic craftmanship and also(subject to Section 1 (3) of the Copyright Act) pictorial woven tissues and articles of applied handicraft and industrial art.
Cinematograph film includes the first fixation of a sequence of visual images capable of being shown as a moving picture and of being the subject reproduction, and includes the recording of a sound track associated with the cinematograph film
Sound recording is defined as the fixation of a sequence sound capable of being perceived aurally and of being reproduced but does not include a sound track associated with a cinematograph film.
Broadcast is defined as sound or television broadcast by wireless telegraph or wire or both or by satellite or cable programmes and include re-broadcast.
Having classified the various types of “work” that enjoy statutory protection under the Copyright Act, it must be however noted that a literary, musical or artistic work shall not be eligible for copyright unless
(i) sufficient effort has been expended on making the work to give it an original character;
(ii) the work has been fixed in a definite medium of expression now known or later to be developed from which it can be perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
About the Writer: Evans Ufeli is a Lagos-based Lawyer and Writer. He is the author of the acclaimed novel “Without Face”. He lives in Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria.