An article written by ‘Tomi Ajayi (Esq.) in honour of Azeezat Sofunde who is contributing her quota to the growth of the Craft sector in Nigeria. ( 23 Sept 2018)
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
IPR talks about your legal protection. For instance, copyright protects literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works. The owner possesses the right to copy and the right to prevent others from copying his work. Artistic works is eligible for copyright if it is original and fixed in any definite medium. It will not be eligible if the work is intended by the author to be used as a model/pattern to be multiplied by any individual process. Another feature of Copyright is that it is conferred on an individual citizen or a company in Nigeria and subsists even in anonymous or pseudonymous artistic works until the end of 70 years. Patent however confers monopoly on industrial designs while Trademarks protect your economic interest such as your trading name or sign, design of products, domain like amazon.com or microsoft.com
5. Under Enforcement we have 3 ways to obtain a remedy:
1. Recognition of your rights, so you can reap the full benefits of your inventions.
2. Compliance – through the Law
3. Institutional legal frame work – The Nigerian Copyrights Commission and the Courts
For example: In early May 2018, a copyright owner of a unique design on a T-shirt filed a lawsuit against Nicki Minaj and her team for copying his artwork that he registered in 2015 because it was substantially similar to his design. He sought damages for infringement from all the profits Nicki Minaj’s team made from the sales and also a Court order to stop the sales of the T-shirt.
6. How can Crafters protect themselves?
Do not make avoidable mistakes. Note that before you grow, you must also know how to survive and thrive. And as you start and grow your business, it is important to protect your work and seek the advice of a professional. When you do that, it means you are positioning your business for success.
1. Craft is mostly an individual or personal initiative. You work from home: You are your own sales person, so try to register your business name. In International Inc. v. C.I.E Ltd (2007) All FWLR (Pt.357) 990 “to carry on business in lawwas defined asmeans to conduct or continue a particular vocation or business as a continuous operation or permanent occupation.”To carry on business also means to hold yourselfout to others as engaged in the selling of goods or services.Really the repetition of the acts of selling and buyingwill suffice.
2. Register your work or ideas with NCC
3.Be vigilant after you create your work because someone can just wake up today and say he is inspired by an idea, yet it is a stolen idea.
4. You need legal advice. This is proper for ensuring compliance with applicable laws to help you navigate the craft journey.