The Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Dr. John O. Asein has appreciated Nigerian authors, publishers, booksellers, librarians, Book Clubs, and lovers of books for their contributions to the development of the book industry.
In his goodwill message marking the 2023 World Book and Copyright Day, Dr. Asein equally called for the promotion of indigenous languages in literary works as well as respect for linguistic diversity.
Here is the full text of the Director-General’s Goodwill Message:
As the world marks April 23 as the World Book and Copyright Day, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) is pleased to join authors, publishers, printers, booksellers, librarians, book clubs and lovers of books all over the world to celebrate the Day.
In line with the objectives of the Day, we also seize this opportunity to appreciate authors and draw attention to the endless possibilities of books as links between our past and the future, as well as trusted bridges between peoples and cultures. Through books, generations are connected and people from distant places and cultures are meet.
This year’s theme, “Indigenous Languages!” underscores the need to recognise linguistic diversity and the importance of preserving, promoting and encouraging the use of indigenous languages in literature and other creative works. It also coincides with the declaration of the decade 2022 to 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, which is to draw attention to issues pertaining to indigenous and local languages.
With its rich cultural diversity and over 600 indigenous languages, Nigeria has a lot to offer to the world through its indigenous languages and the associated knowledge. Studies have shown that these knowledge systems offer simple, efficient, wholesome and practical solutions to complex problems in society.
They therefore not only enhance culture, but also contribute to the economic life of the communities and the book, in whatever format, remains one of the most potent and enduring means of transmitting knowledge.
As we celebrate this year’s World Book and Copyright Day, the Commission is particularly pleased with Nigeria’s recent enactment of the Copyright Act, 2022 which gives authors the needed legal framework to harness the country’s rich cultural heritage. The Act has brought significant improvement in the rights available and better addresses the challenges of digital transmission and online exploitation of works.
On other hand, the flexible provisions on translations of works should facilitate the publication of more materials in indigenous languages. The Nigerian Copyright Commission has also commenced consultations with the relevant stakeholders to formulate the needed Regulations and Guidelines for the implementation of the provisions of the Act on the protection of expressions of folklore.
To guarantee adequate return on intellectual and financial investment in all creative sectors, the Commission is intensifying its proactive enforcement initiatives as well as enhancing the collective management of rights. Working with various stakeholders and relevant agencies, the Commission has commenced a series of public education and enlightenment campaigns as a prelude to the full scale national antipiracy drive. With the stiffer penalties available in the new Act for criminal infractions, the public is therefore advised to desist from all forms of copyright infringements and abuses.
Together, let us, in our literature, music, performances and movies explore alternative languages and give voice to indigenous communities. May I also call on authors and other stakeholders to join the Nigerian Copyright Commission in telling the copyright story and drawing attention to the ills of piracy and other copyright abuses that would be inimical to the advancement of indigenous languages.
Happy World Book and Copyright Day!
Dr. John O. Asein
Nigerian Copyright Commission