Disclaimer: Please note, this is an article written solely for informative purposes and it does not constitute legal advice. If you are operating within the entertainment sector and are facing any legal issues, you are required to consult a lawyer. You can also contact us using the contact us form.
If you have read our earlier articles, we have mentioned that one of the main focus areas of an Entertainment lawyer in Nigeria is Intellectual Property. Of the various intellectual property rights (IPR), copyright law is what Entertainment lawyers have to deal with most often.
So what exactly is copyright? Copyright refers to the exclusive right to use the material or work, as well as the right to perform or authorize the performance of any work. In today’s world, copyright is extremely important in the entertainment business. It offers legal protection and prohibits the unauthorized production of creative or one-of-a-kind works. In the entertainment business, Copyright serves as a link between cinema, photography, sculpture, painting, and records, among other things. Creative works and expressions are not a new occurrence in society; the difference now is that the protection of these is given more importance.
In general, copyright is a major component of IPR that protects producers’ rights to their creative works. Film, narrative, music, artwork, and literary works are among these works. Such works need protection against piracy.
It is really frustrating when someone copies a creative work that you have worked so hard for. It is equally frustrating if someone wrongly accuses you of stealing a work that you have actually created. In both cases, you will have to seek out appropriate remedies. Remedies against copyright violations can be both civil and criminal.
The following are some of the civil remedies for copyright infringement (Please note some options are not available in Nigeria).
(a) Interlocutory Injunctions
Interlocutory injunctions are a major remedy accessible to the owner in the event of copyright infringement of his original work. In most instances, the infringer is given an interlocutory injunction, and the matter seldom proceeds any further. . To be eligible for an interlocutory injunction, the case must meet specific criteria. For starters, there must be a prima facie case. Second, the balance of convenience must be in favour of the applicant. There must also be irreversible harm to the owner.
(b) Pecuniary (or Monetary) Remedies
This is a monetary remedy that is awarded to those whose copyright has been infringed. The pecuniary remedy takes different forms. Firstly, the individual profited from illegal activity and the owner of the copyright can claim the profits. Second, the owner is granted compensatory damages for the loss he incurred as a result of the infringement. Finally, the worth of the product or labour is used to calculate conversion damages.
(c) Anton Pillar Orders
It entails the following steps: first, a preliminary injunction prohibiting the infringer from distribution of the work could be granted. Second, the plaintiff’s lawyer is granted permission to search the defendant’s home and seize any items or merchandise. Third, a court order requiring the defendant to provide the identities of distributors and customers may also be made.
(d) Mareva Injunction
When a court of law notices that the defendant is attempting to prolong the procedures and obstructing the implementation of the decree against him, an injunction is utilized against him. A court of law has the authority to compel the defendant to surrender some or all of his or her property to the court in order to fulfil the court’s judgment.
(e) Norwich Pharmacal Order
When a third party is compelled to provide information, this order is issued against the defendant.
Criminal Remedies for Copyright Infringement
Criminal Penalties include fines, imprisonment between several months to several years. Search and seizure of the pirated goods or products (if it is goods or products). The rightful owner will receive the infringing property or commodities.
Copyright lawyers in Nigeria play an important role in supporting the entertainment and media industry. We, at creative legal, have been instrumental in protecting the copyright of thousands of right owners across Nigeria. What we have noticed is that much of the remedies above will have a greater chance of being obtained by the wrongdoer when there is good evidence, and rights ownership or control is well documents. Our team of copyright lawyers will be able to help you in documenting your rights ownership and assessing your ownership claims in case of an infringement of your rights. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you.