As an intellectual property lawyer, I can spend all day talking about intellectual property rights; their benefits, rights and damages.

Although it is not yet fully developed in Nigeria or operated by Nigerian creatives, but those in creative spaces, content creators, etc., should know that once they put any original material or content to the public, they are deemed to have the legal right to such content or materials.

Just as an owner of physical property is entitled to his tangible or physical property, a content owner is also entitled to his content even if that content is immaterial, but in law they are deemed to be properties owned by the creator or curator, hence why it is called “intellectual property”.

An intellectual property right is a right for the owner of intellectual property to have and enjoy their property and to be free from infringement by third parties and theft. If someone violates this right, there will be legal consequences against that person. Any violation of this, no matter how small, calls for legal action.

Anyone who uses such content without the consent or express authorization of the owner will be considered to have stolen it, therefore, the act will be qualified as intellectual property theft.

These rights can only be exercised by a creator who has taken the further step of legally reserving these rights by registering such content in Nigeria with the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment through trademarks, patents, copyrights, etc

When these contents have been fully recorded, it saves the rightful owner from controversies as to who is the rightful owner of the content. Just as a land owner is supposed to register the property with the land registry to fully protect his rights, so an intellectual property owner is legally required to register his intellectual properties with the Ministry of Commerce and Investment to fully protect his rights. and protect it from theft and infringement.

Nigerian artists and creators should know that intellectual property is a goldmine. You are the one being paid for your creativity and they should all take extra steps to legally claim their creativity by duly registering it; trademarks, copyrights or patents.

Stanley Alieke is an Abuja-based lawyer. He can be reached via [email protected]

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