THE NEW NIGERIA BROADCASTING COMMISSION (NBC) CODE 6TH EDITION
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) released an amended version of the 6th edition of its broadcast code. The new code requires that all online broadcasters are registered with the Commission, in addition, the code will prevent Pay-tv and streaming platforms from making content exclusive and compel them to sub-license content at regulated prices. According to the Commission, the amendment is to foster the promotion of local content in the Nigerian Broadcasting Industry and the prohibition of monopolistic tendencies and anti-competition practices which according to the Commission has become prevalent in the industry.
Perhaps the Commission did not take into consideration the rights conferred by copyright provisions on broadcasters and content creators. The fact that they have exclusive rights which they cannot be forced to give away has been misconstrued. Copyright Act allows content producers to license their content exclusively or partially, NBC interferes by stating in the Code that broadcasters cannot acquire exclusive content. The major amendments to the 6th edition of the Code include:
(1) Local contents – Article 3.15 (2) Acquisition of Sports Rights – Article 6.2 (3) Restraint of trade/dominant position – Article 9.0 (4) Compulsory sub-licensing – Article 9.1.1 (5) Access for pay-TV platforms – Article 9.1.1 & 188.8.131.52.
Stakeholders in the industry have expressed their concerns and desire for deliberation on the inconsistencies in the code; specifically, the issue of restraint of trade and mandated sub-licensing which is an infringement of the exclusive rights of copyright owners. Those linked to the broadcast industry are expecting that the provisions of the code are reviewed. In the state it is, it can stifle the progress of the industry since this industry is reliant on domestic and foreign organizations and content.