Examining the role and limits of copyright law and policy in facilitating access to education in Nigeria: a development inquiry

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Ugwumba, Samuel Wilbanks
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University College Cork
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This thesis examines the extent to which copyright law can facilitate access to education in Nigeria. Education is a developmental imperative and especially so for Nigeria, a developing country, where a combination of institutional failure and poverty has continuously impeded its realisation for a greater number of citizens. The sacrosanct importance of education and the socio-economic peculiarities of Nigeria require that serious panoramic attention be paid to the challenges—socio-economic, legal, institutional, and cultural—derailing the fulfilment of this developmental goal in Nigeria. Indeed, the commitment to achieving universal education, apart from finding lofty expression in several human rights treaties, is a fundamental part of ongoing global development programmes, thereby emphasising the non-negotiable value of education and that lack of it is potentially life-threatening. In pursuing this inquiry, copyright law and access to education in Nigeria, the thesis takes as one of its principal tasks the examination of the institutional and normative limits of copyright law. Three critical conclusions, germane to the role and limits of copyright in facilitating access to education, are reached on this specific inquiry: (1) copyright exists to internalise economic values, thereby undermining social values; (2) copyright is not a transcendental moral idea; and (3) copyright as wealth-maximisation is infeasible and normatively unattractive. Accordingly, the thesis searches through the broad terrain of development discourse and studies with the goal of seeking for a normative framework that is conducive to the interests of access to education, ultimately found in a human development paradigm. On the other hand, the thesis, in pressing forward with the principal objective of facilitating access to education through the regime of copyright, explores a novel strategy: whether copyright can be integrated with the constitutional right to education. This novel inquiry dovetails with the observation that education is a human right and access to it a developmental imperative. Given that the governance of copyright law is part of the global regime for governing creative works of the mind, manifested in the TRIPS Agreement and Berne Convention, the thesis investigates the extent to which the package of limitations and exceptions afforded by these global regimes facilitates access to education and whether Nigeria is utilising the flexibilities. Aside these, the thesis, in line with its commitment to unpack foundational issues, investigates the policy aspects of copyright law that impede the development of a copyright law and policy that facilitates access to education.
Access to education , Access to knowledge , Intellectual property and development , Nigeria , International copyright law , Copyright law and policy , Developing countries
Ugwumba, S. W. 2020. Examining the role and limits of copyright law and policy in facilitating access to education in Nigeria: a development inquiry. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.