Copyright in Nigeria: Everything you should know

Copyright in Nigeria is governed by the Copyright Act Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010 (as amended) and any other copyright law that may apply to the work.

The owner of the copyright has certain exclusive rights under this act. These include the rights to reproduce the work, prepare derivative works from the work, distribute copies of the work to the public, perform the work publicly, display the work publicly, and make adaptations of the work.Copyright in Nigeria

The author of the work does not have any exclusive rights under this act, but he/she can grant others some of these rights. This includes the right to reproduce the copyrighted work, prepare derivative works based on the work, distribute copies to the public, perform publicly, display publicly, and make adaptations based on the work.

To exercise these rights, the owner of the copyright must register his/her work with the Copyright Office. Registration entitles the owner of the copyright to sue infringers of copyright.

For further information about copyright in Nigeria, contact the Nigerian Copyright Commission at

Does Nigeria have copyright protection?

Yes! Nigeria has copyright protection. Copyright law in Nigeria is governed under the Copyright Act 1988, with amendments in 1992 and 1999. This act was amended in 2010 and is currently codified into the Laws of the Federation (LOF) of Nigeria in 2010.

The Nigerian Copyright Act states that any person who publishes or reproduces any work without the consent of the copyright holder shall be liable to pay a fine of N100, 000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.

How many years does copyright last in Nigeria?

Copyright lasts for 70 years after the death of the author. If the author dies before that time, then the work enters the public domain. Copyright can be renewed for another period of 70 years if the author files paperwork with the Copyright Board.

Who is eligible for copyright?

Copyright law is designed to protect original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression. Works include literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual creations.

Copyright protection subsists from the time of creation until 70 years after the author’s death. This period may be extended if the work qualifies under the “works made for hire” provisions of the copyright law.

Works made for hire are those prepared by employees within the scope of their employment. Examples of works made for hire include:

  • Screenplays written by screenwriters hired by film studios.
  • Articles published by freelancers hired by newspapers, magazines, and book publishers;
  • Computer programs created by programmers employed by software companies
  • Music composed by musicians working for record labels etc.

The author of a copyrighted work is considered its owner, but this ownership interest is different from the exclusive right to reproduce or distribute copies of the work.

A copyright holder may license others to use his/her work under certain conditions. This license is called a “copyright” license. The terms of the license define what rights are granted to the licensee.

A copyright license may include the following elements:

  • Granting the right to make copies of the work
  • Granting permission to perform the work publicly
  • Granting the authorization to display the work publicly

How much does copyright cost in Nigeria?

The cost of copyright in Nigeria is ten thousand naira for copyright registration and transfer registration. A certificate costs between five thousand and fifteen thousand naira, depending on the number of pages.

Requirements for copyright registration

  • Register your work.

The first step in protecting your intellectual property rights is to register them. This can be done online at You should do this before you file a lawsuit against someone who has infringed upon your copyrights.

  • The work must be unique and the outcome of the author’s efforts and talent.

Only original works are accepted by the Nigerian copyright commission. They will access the content before asking you to fill the form and paying the registration fee.

How do I register a copyright?

You can register your copyright online through the National Copyright Centre’s website.

  1. If you are registering a work that has already been published, you should submit proof of publication. This could include a copy of the magazine/newspaper where the article was first published or a copy of the book where the work was first published.
  2. If you have not yet published your work, you may choose to submit a sample of your work to the NCC. A sample would need to be submitted via email. Visit their website at
  3. Once you have registered your copyright, you will receive a certificate from the NCC. This certificate will allow you to file a claim against any infringement of your copyright.

Is copyright infringement a crime in Nigeria?

Yes, it is. The owner of the copyright has the right to enforce his/her copyright against anyone who copies his/her work without authorization. Copyright infringement occurs when someone uses your work without permission.

This can include copying, distributing, displaying, recording, adapting, or modifying your work. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement,i you can file a case.

  • File a complaint

Once you have registered your work, you may wish to file a complaint. If you are not sure whether or not you have been plagiarized, you should consult a lawyer. A good attorney will be able to help you determine if you have a case.


Copyright laws protect original works of authorship fixed in tangible form. Copyright does not protect ideas, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, discoveries, or information.

Originality is the sine qua non of copyright; accordingly, copyright cannot subsist in any work that is already known to the public. In other words, copyright can only exist once something has been created.

In Nigeria, copyright law requires that you register your work with the government. This is called registering your copyright. You can only register your copyright if you meet certain requirements. These requirements are different depending on whether you are creating works of art or literary works.


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