How To Copyright a Book: A Definitive Guide

How can a book be copyrighted?

Wow! Great job on making something creative and unique. Now, it’s important to keep your work safe so that nobody else can say it’s theirs.

To do that, you should register for copyright. Copyright means you get special rights to publish, copy, and share your work. In Nigeria, you can do this through the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

Things that can be copyrighted are stuff like music, books, paintings, photos, films, and videos. 

How long does a copyright last in Nigeria?

It is important to note that copyright does not vest in the author forever. The First Schedule to Copyright Act LFN 2004 provides for the duration of copyright protection in a work: 

  • For literary, musical, and artistic work other than photographs; the Copyright Act stipulates seventy years after the end of the year in which the author dies and in the case of a government or a body corporate, seventy years, after the end of the year in which the work was first published.
  • For Cinematograph films and photograph; the Copyright Act stipulates fifty years after the end of the year in which the work was first published.
  • For sound recordings, the Copyright Act stipulates fifty years after the end of the year in which the recording was first published.
  • For broadcasts, the Copyright Act stipulates fifty years after the end of the year in which the broadcast first took place.

Guides on How to Register Copyright in Nigeria:

Manual Registration:

  1. Walk into an NCC office nearest to you.
  2. Obtain a form for the registration of copyright for your work.
  3. Fill and submit the form to the office with two copies of your intellectual property.
  4. Pay the prescribed fee and bring back evidence of payment.
  5. After due consideration and proof of your ownership of the work, you will be granted a copyright for it.

Online Registration:

  • Visit the website or use the direct registration portal
  • Click on the “Copyright Registration” bar.
  • Click on the “Create an Account” bar.
  • In the dialogue box that appears, you will need to input a username as well as a password. Take note of your password as you will need them the other times you need to log in.
  • Fill in the details on the form brought up. Upload a valid email address.
  • Follow the link sent to your email to activate your account.
  • Go to the dashboard and select “Register a New Work”.
  • Select the category of work you want to register.
  • Fill out the form for the particular category and complete all 11 sections. Save it and click.
  • Proceed to make payment and submit proof of payment. The fee for copyright registration is N10,000 or $60. The fee for the issuance of a certified true copy is N5000 or $30. To make some changes or corrections, you are to pay N5000 or $30.
  • For paperwork of 50 pages or less, the fee is N5000 or $30; 51-100 N7500 or $40; N101 – N200 N10,000- $60; 201 and above N15,000 – $90.
  • These fees can, however, be reviewed by the commission when it deems it fit to do so. Registration is allowed for works or authors not based in Nigeria.
  • The items asterisked must be duly filled. There are quick tips on how to fill out the form.
  • Your submitted application will acquire a pending status.
  • If there is an error in the details you provided, or if there is any form of irregularity, your application will acquire a “Queried” status. Respond to it accordingly and effect the necessary corrections.
  • If your application is being worked upon, it will display a “Processing” status. Wait for the outcome.
  • By the time your application has been approved, a registration number will be issued to you. Your status will now read “Approved”. Proceed to view or print the preview copy of the certificate.
  • Wait for a call to pick up the originally signed hard copy.


Copyright is an important aspect of intellectual property that should be taken seriously by every creative in this era, as it plays a crucial role in protecting the value and interests of creatives and provides opportunity for creatives to fully exploit the works created by them. It provides an avenue for the balance of a creative’s desire for financial rewards and a user’s access to the creative work for societal benefits.

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