Balancing the Right of Exclusive Control and Public Interest: The Scope of Rights and Exceptions under the Nigerian Copyright Act
Keywords:exceptions to copyright infringement, nature of rights, Nigeria Copyright Act, Copyright
Copyright law confers monopoly to the owner of a protected work who thereby acquires the exclusive right to control a number of acts with respect to the work. These acts include publication, reproduction, commercial distribution and making of derivatives of the work. Any other person who does any of these acts dehors the copyright owner would be liable for infringement of copyright. In this way, the private right of the copyright owner is protected. However, copyright law recognizes that the monopoly conferred on the copyright owner must of necessity be tampered in public interest. Hence, the law provides a number of exceptions, notably that of fair dealing, to excuse unauthorized exploitation in the public interest. In this way, the purview of rights, direct infringement and exceptions under the Nigerian copyright law regime is about balancing the private right of the copyright owner and the public interest in the freer access to and exploitation of creative works. Using the doctrinal methodology, and a discursive and analytical research design, this study elucidates on the nature of rights, infringing activities and statutory exceptions to copyright infringement provided under the Nigerian Copyright Act.