IP protections online are very important, but there is also a culture of information freedom that is at odds with IP rights. Cries of “information must be free” are common among internet pirates. It can be instructive to see what happens in countries that do not have strong IP protections and how creatives suffer as a result.
Nigeria is just such a country. According to a piece in All Africa, Nigerian movies and music are among the most pirated in the world. They’re pirated not just online but in physical forms as well, sometimes even while law enforcement officials watch the transaction.
Intellectual property theft not only robs people of making a livelihood off of their ideas, but there are knock-off effects as well. Tax revenue off of the sale of products based on IP dries up. Shoddy copies, or even dangerous copies, of products can enter the market. IP theft also contributes to a large black market and organized crime.
Nigeria is starting to take action though. The Copyright Society of Nigeria has asked the president to implement strong IP protections in the country as soon as possible. Creatives have to be educated on IP and there needs to be laws and enforcement of those laws to create a safe space where ideas can turn into marketable products without fear of theft. They also made an economic argument about how venture capitalists will continue to refuse to invest in their country’s economy if they fear that the ideas they’re investing in will be stolen.
IP laws are fundamental to this country. The Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” If you have IP you want to protect, there are many ways it can be done. For more information, contact Greenberg & Lieberman, LLC, for a free consultation.