Frequently Asked Questions

Copyright may be defined as a monopoly right which the creator of an eligible work acquires as soon as such work is put in a tangible form and which right precludes all others from the exploitation of such work without the authorization of the creator for a specified period. It allows an original work to be considered a property that is owned by somebody. In Nigeria the following works are eligible for copyright protection by virtue of the Copyright Act (Cap. 28 LFN 2004); literary, musical, artistic, cinematograph and sound recordings.

If you own the copyright you possess the sole authority to:

  • Reproduce the work in any material form
  • Publish the work
  • Perform the work in public
  • Make any cinematograph film or a record in respect of the work.
  • Broadcast or communicate the work to the public by projector/screen or other similar device
  • Issue, sell or rent copies to the public [i.e. broadcasting it via TV, radio, Internet, etc.)

The basic conditions under which a creative work will enjoy copyright protection in Nigeria are as stated in section 1(2) of the Copyright Act. Copyright in a cinematograph film begins automatically once the film is created or recorded (e.g. on video, DVD, BLURAY, VCD or other formats). In Nigeria, copyright in cinematograph films lasts for a period of 50 years after the end of the year in which the work was first published.

Membership of AVRS is drawn from producers, directors, writers of cinematograph works, as well as lead actors and actresses. 

Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) is a company limited by guarantee and incorporated under the laws of Nigeria as a non-profit company. It is approved by the Nigerian Copyright Commission to operate as the sole Collective Management Organization (CMU) for cinematograph films in Nigeria, pursuant to the Copyright Act (Cap. 28 LFN 2004) and the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007. By the enabling acts, AVRS is authorized to license the public and commercial use of cinematograph/video works. 

AVRS tariffs take into consideration many factors which include the value of films to a particular business. If film and television are part of the basic needs of a business operation (bar, restaurant, fast food centre, night club, concert venue, etc), then they are fundamental to the business. The cost of movie copyright license can depend on various factors: the type of premises, the size of the premises, the nature and extent to which film is used, how many people are exposed to it, how many viewing devices, etc. It is noteworthy that AVRS tariffs are regulated by the NCC and the law allows a film user to complain to the NCC if he/she feels that a given tariff is too high, and AVRS is not willing 10 review it. 

A producer shall have the following exclusive rights to control in relation to his film work: 
  • Recording 
  • Reproducing in any material form and 
  • Adaptation of the film 
  • Producer's rights also include the right to communicate a film to the public by television, internet or other viewing devices. 

According to section 15 of the Copyright Act, any public use of a copyright-protected film work requires a license. When a film is played in public, producers, directors, writers, lead actors and actresses are entitled to be compensated because it supports their livelihood. Without AVRS, businesses that use films in public would have to get permission from every individual producer, director, lead actor and actress for every film work they intend to use, and they would have to pay each of them directly. This permission is not granted through the purchase of a film work, whether it is through a DVD or any other device which only allows for private use of the purchased film. AVRS simplifies this complex process through movies copyright licenses. Research has proven that customers spend more time and money in bars, restaurants, lounges, barbing and hair dressing salons, and other such business premises where they watch movies and other videos. 

Nigeria along with over 200 countries worldwide are signatories to several international treaties including the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC): Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works; World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPOI Copyright Treaty; and the agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). These treaties require all signatories to recognize the copyright of works right owners from other member countries. All these treaties and memberships of international bodies, together with other bilateral agreements confer on AVRS the authority to issue permission to use copyright-protected film works from anywhere in the world. Similarly, Nigerian films are used in other parts of the world and these treaties equally protect the interests of Nigerian film producers and other right owners whose fees shall be collected by approved CMOs in other countries and remitted through AVRS.

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 15(1)(a) of the Nigerian Copyright Act, the promoter and the owner of the venue are responsible from their own ends, and both of them need to purge themselves of their infringement. The owner of the event center needs to get his venue licensed, while the promoter organizing an event that will use movies commercially needs to license such event.

AVRS is a member-based, not-for-profit organization made up of film producers, directors, writers, lead actors and actresses. All license fees collected (less administrative costs as approved by the regulatory agency) are distributed as royalties to the members of AVRS.

The purchase of an original DVD or download of a movie or documentary from a legal and licensed site, gives the right to watch the movie in private, NOT in public. This is the difference between ownership of a copy of a film work and ownership of copyright in that film work. Only AVRS license allows the public use of the film work. Any public use of the film work without AVRS license constitutes an infringement of copyright under section 15 of the Nigerian Copyright Act.

Public performance of film works incorporate performances on TV channels. Section 3.1.11 of the Broadcast Code clearly states that "the broadcast or rebroadcast of any content shall be only with the express permission of the right owner. Piracy is strictly prohibited". Therefore being the sole Collective Management Organization (CMO) for cinematograph works in Nigeria, pursuant to the Copyright Act (Cap. 28 LFN 2004) and the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007, a film copyright license from AVRS is imperative for all TV broadcast stations.

Playing of any audio-visual work, including music video in a public place is public communication. If you are playing music videos in public, you may legally require a license from AVRS for the cinematograph content of the video.

In Nigeria, a cinematograph work enters the public domain 50 years after the year in which it is published. No fees are charged for use of film works in the public domain but a user is required to consult with AVRS for final determination.

All businesses using movies and videos be it documentaries/musicals in the workplace in any way are advised to contact AVRS to discuss the requirement for an appropriate film copyright license.

A TV license is needed so that you can lawfully use television equipment to receive signals. It does not grant you the permission to play in public the recorded film used as part of the broadcasts. Much of TV programming includes the use of recorded films. So if those programmes are used in public by having the TV at your business premises, then AVRS license will almost certainly be required. If you play a TV at your business premises, please contact AVRS to discuss the specific licensing requirements for your business.

The subscription of commercial bouquet to receive DST V or other cable signals is not the same as a copyright license to communicate film works to the general public. Such subscription only gives a right to signals and not a right to public usage of the content. It would only suffice if there is no use of same in public setting or for business/ commercial gain. AVRS license is therefore required.

The ownership of equipment does not affect the requirement for a film license. If a movie is played in public. a film copyright license is required. The owner of such premises or business may be legally liable for any unlicensed public communication of copyright film that takes place on the premises. 

The sole CMO model which has become the global practice in order to make it less cumbersome for users of copyright works to obtain the license they require. This is consistent with Section 39 of the Nigerian Copyright Act. For avoidance of doubt, the monopoly status does not mean that AVRS arbitrarily sets tariffs or forces high tariffs on users of copyright movies. As stated in number 7 above, AVRS tariffs are well regulated and flexible.

  • As with any licensing requirement, it is the responsibility of the film user to understand and meet their legal obligations. Television stations (both terrestrial and online), Nightclubs, Hotels & Guest Houses, Restaurants & Bars, Lounges, Event Centers, Hair-dressing Salons and Barber shops, Mini Buses & Luxurious Buses, Banking Halls, Airports, Airplanes, Blue Chip Companies & Private Companies, Hospitals & Clinics, Health Centres, public buildings, etc, are advised to get in touch with AVRS for appropriate license. 
  • Within Nigeria everyone is required to comply with the Copyright Law as defined in the Copyright Act (Cap. 28 LFN 2004) and the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007 
  • If movies are used in your premises, it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct licenses are in place so that you and/or any person working on your premises do not fall foul of the law.
You can submit an application by visiting our office at Nigerian Film Corporation Building, near the Nigerian Immigration Service office, Ikoyi, Lagos or visit our website and we shall contact you afterwards to confirm your licensing requirements. Alternatively, please contact our General Manager or licensing officers on the following lines 09025186078, 09069422220 or 09024657858 or email addresses,

User login



Get in touch with us


Be a part of the change...

Contact us

Audio Visual Rights Society (AVRS) of Nigeria

15 Sylvia Crescent
P.O. Box 52751 Falomo, Ikoyi
Lagos, Nigeria.

Tel: +2349025186078 +2349024657858 +2349069422220


Education - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.