Copyright Collective Management Organizations in Nigeria: Resolving the Locus Standi Conundrum
Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, 2015, Vol. 10, No. 7, 518-525
17 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2018
Date Written: May 4, 2015
The ubiquity of the piracy of copyright-protected works has made it possible for copyright owners to suffer material loss, even though they enjoy fame from the popularity of their works. Put differently, the increased consumption of copyright works via the mass media, communication systems and entertainment centres, airlines, etc, has made it possible for copyright-protected works to be exploited without due authorization from copyright owners. Individual owners cannot possibly enforce their rights in respect of such widespread infringement because they cannot be everywhere at the same time and, in most cases, they are not equipped with the resources to go after infringers. This state of affairs, which did not start today, gave birth to copyright collective societies, also known as collective management organizations (CMOs) or collecting societies, with established merits and demerits as far as copyright enforcement is concerned. The Nigerian Copyright Act recognizes the right of copyright owners to initiate civil proceedings for infringement of their copyright. It further recognizes the existence of CMOs and empowers them to enforce the copyright in their repertoire on behalf of individual owners (members) through, inter alia, the initiation of civil proceedings. However, from a perusal of the Act, it appears that the locus standi of CMOs to institute action in court is not unlimited. This article examines the provisions of the Act on the right of CMOs to sue and to determine the extent to which this right is limited, ie whether the restraint is limited to their right to sue for infringement of copyright within their repertoire or whether it extends to their right to sue generally as a legal entity. To this end, we consider specific judicial authorities that have interpreted relevant provisions of the Act.
Keywords: Copyright, CMOs, Locus Standi, Nigeria
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