Beyond ‘Nollywood’ and Piracy: Search of an Intellectual Property Policy for Nigeria

Bio and information communication technologies have created a new global economy and have helped in re-shaping the competitive profile of many developing countries in the new knowledge economy. In Nigeria, because of the abundance of creative cultural energy and investments in capacity building in the arts in the late 20th century, there has been a quickened uptake of digital technologies in the movie industry that has since given rise to what is known as “Nollywood”.  As creature of technological conversion, Nollywood has made Nigeria one of the top three movie producing nations in the world. Stakeholders in Nigeria‘s movie industry have constituted into a powerful pressure group. Along with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and other actors, they have managed to make “fighting” piracy a central thrust of Nigeria‘s intellectual property policy. While the anti-piracy zeal of the NCC has found favour with external interests, it is doubtful if a narrow intellectual property policy, one that focuses on piracy alone, is capable of articulating Nigeria‘s other interests in areas such as such traditional knowledge, agriculture and various creative repertoire in that country. There is an urgent need for a more constructive and comprehensive approach for intellectualproperty policy, one that articulates Nigeria‘s interest as an important regional power and a developing country in the global knowledge economy. The author calls for a purposeful intervention that brings more stakeholders into IP policy creation, and incorporates linked issues such as food security, farmers’ rights, traditional medicine, environmental protection and overall empowerment of traditional knowledge and its stewards. Along with the NCC, the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion,  the Patent and Trademark Registry, the academia and the legal profession need to forge an alliance of purpose toward the fashioning and implementing of  a more comprehensive IP policy for Nigeria, beyond Nollywood.


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Oguamanam, Chidi, Beyond ‘Nollywood’ and Piracy: In Search of an Intellectual Property Policy for Nigeria (November 1, 2011). NIALS Journal of Intellectual Property Maiden Edition (2011) 3-37.

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