Introduction To Copyright and Plagiarism

This is an introduction to the concepts. They are similar and it involves robbery. Robbery of ideas without prior permission. But there’s a slight distinction… Where the issue of robbery of ideas comes in is in cases of Copyright infringement.

Copyright in itself is not per se similar to plagiarism.

Copyright law is in essence concerned with the right of preventing the copying of material existing in the field of literature, arts and the likes. Its object is to protect the owner who has by law registered the work under his name from the unlawful reproduction of his material.

Copyright law has to do with the unlawful reproduction of a person’s materials which have been registered and copyrighted by legal authority.

For a claim to lie against someone in a case of copyright infringement, the copyrighted work must be the source from which the infringing work was derived. So for example, where two precisely similar works are produced simultaneously, the one who gets the first copyright cannot without proof that the other copied his work, claim against that other simply because he got first copyright.

It is just saying that for you to sue someone for copyright infringement, you must be able to prove that the person copied your particular work that has a copyright.

 

Under S.1 of the copyright law of Nigeria, for a work to be eligible for copyright, sufficient effort must have been put into the work to give it an original character and the work would have to have been fixed in a definite medium of expression from which it can be reproduced.

 

It’s not compulsory for a work to be registered at Nigeria Copyright Commission. However, it’s advisable.

 

This brings us to copyright infringement. According to S.15 (1) of the CR. Act, copyright is infringed by a person who without license or authorization from the copyright owner does or causes the doing of an act controlled by the copyright… which infringes on the copyright of the owner.

 

Copyright infringement is a criminal and civil offense under the Act and is punishable by law.

 

Plagiarism, on the other hand, is a concept rooted in ethics and involves passing off the intellectual property of another as one’s own. There’s been a lot of argument on plagiarism in Nigeria especially with the incident of Buhari’s speech that sorta plagiarized someone’s lines.

Plagiarism so far has been described as an academic crime with next to no legal liability in Nigeria. It is the use of another person’s language, thoughts and phrases without informing the author concerned.

 

For example, I just plagiarized the definition because recognition was not given to the source from which I got the definition.

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