AWARENESS AND EXTENT OF INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT LAWS AMONG UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS IN AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA, KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
The capacity and ability to think critically, logically and analytically as well as generate novel ideas are among the legacies a university education bequeaths on its recipients after graduation. The purpose therefore for attaining university education is to produce creative and original thinkers who can contribute meaningfully to the development of the society (Babalola, 2012). However,beneficiaries (users) of information sources seem not to be aware of regulations guiding such usage, the legal implications,culpability and punishments as a result of infringements. The negative increase in academic copyright infringement is worrisome because it is eating deep into the fabric of university students and making the noble mission of university education a mirage. The act of piracy, violates people‘s intellectual property rights, undermines the principles of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and sense of responsibility. Furthermore, it devalues the integrity of academic qualifications and discourages creativity and uniqueness.
The academic environment is a place where knowledge is shared, transferred and impactedthrough teaching and learning which must be done in accordance with basic rules, principles and standards. The basic rules areembedded in polices and rules which illustrate and create awareness.There is never a time than now to investigate students‘ awareness of copyright laws and what constitute copyright infringement, factors responsible for the prevalence of the practice in order to effectively combat it.
Awareness refers to having knowledge of the existence of something; it is the state at which one is well informed about what is going on with regards to the point of interest. The level of awareness of the Nigerian copyright laws among undergraduate students in Nigerian tertiary institutions vary from one institution to the other. According to Isiakpona (2012), awareness of copyright laws by undergraduate students at University of Ibadan, was considerably high. Though awareness is high, the knowledge on what constitute infringement of the copyrightlaws is low. This is a similar view shared by Korletey and Tettey (2015) in their work on copyright awareness in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science in Ghana. Copyright infringement refers to the unauthorised use of copyrighted materials in a manner that violates owner‘s exclusive right. Infringement in this context includes piracy, plagiarism of text, indiscriminate photocopying, duplication of web pages, etc. (Isiakpona, 2012). The common copyright infringement by students in tertiary institutions is plagiarism.
Plagiarism could be described as the violation of copyright law to use all or any part of A‘s document, either verbatim or with trivial changes, in a document written by B, except as described in the section on fair use.
Piracy is also another means of infringement of copyright law. Piracy as opined by Thomas (1991) as cited by Okwilagwe (2001), is ―the unauthorised or illegal reproduction of the work of an author for sale without payment of royalty or other compensation to the owner of the intellectual property so exploited.‖
Several reasons have been adduced for the rising incidences of copyright infringement in the academia. The most popular is the ease with which information can be retrieved, manipulated and distributed on the Internet. The widespread use of the Internet among students has fostered the ‘cut and paste’ approach to research. Young (2001) as cited in Babalola (2012), blame the anonymity of the web and the practice of ‘downloading’ music, software, games, etc. at no cost from the Internet to gradually erode the culture of attribution that is fundamental to academic research. Students generally have the misconception that the Internet is a free source for collecting information without acknowledging the author. The number of paper mills, websites that offer written term papers for a fee, has increased significantly with the advent of Internet technology.