2016 NIGERIA INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM
The 2016 edition of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum (NIGF) held on the 1st and 2nd of June 2016 at the Musa Yar’adua Center, Abuja, Nigeria, with the main theme: “Harnessing Internet Governance for Inclusive Development and Smarter Nigeria…”. The Local Multi-stakeholders Advisory Group (LMAG) of the 2016 NIGF is made up of the Ministry of Communications (FMoC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The pre-event, for the forum was a Special Youth workshop held on the 1st June 2016 with the theme: “Connecting for Empowerment”. The workshop chaired by Honorable Nasir Saidu Adhama, Special Assistant to the President on the Youth and Student Affairs, aimed to connect, empower and stimulate the youth in taking advantage of the opportunities that the Internet provides. Several business opportunities were discussed including strategy for accessing critical business resources.
The impact of the Internet on the youth is to ensure they behave positively on the Internet. The youths were informed that with over Three billion Internet users worldwide, they have a large audience to market their brands and products to. The special youth workshop showcased several projects of Youths using embedded technology.
The 2016 NIGF forum held on the 2nd June 2016. It brought about dialogue amongst stakeholders on how the Internet Governance Ecosystem potentials should be harnessed for Nigeria’s inclusive development, economic growth and ability for sustenance.
Discussions ranged from Unleashing the power of Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of Mind (IoM) for a smarter Nigeria, Harnessing indigenous innovation for inclusive development and the Implication of Free Basic on Internet neutrality and innovation in Nigeria.
It was agreed that lack of sufficient Infrastructure, lack of adequate awareness, accessibility, affordability and skill gap were major setbacks for the inclusive development and penetration of the Internet in Nigeria. The forum identified that the following recommendations: Development of adequate policies for Internet Governance, Sensitization to increase awareness of the Cybercrime Act, Development of adequate infrastructure, Engagement of Citizens on the proper use of Internet and Inclusion of special privilege (Disabled) citizens in the use of the Internet.
Overall, the outcome of the forum will further enhance consensus building among stakeholders on the framework for Internet governance in Nigeria, address the nation’s most critical and evolving issues on Internet governance, while advancing the nation’s position at the regional and global Internet Governance Forum.
DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION- JANUARY TO MAY 2016
The domain names count from January to May 2016 include 12,199 registrations and 7,585 renewals. In May 2016, 2,688 new domain names were registered, 1,523 domain names were renewed and there were 77 transfers between the NiRA Accredited Registrars. The renewal rate is encouraging as well. The table and graph below depict the domain name registrations and renewals for the past three months period March, April and May 2016 across the years.
Domain Name Lawyers
Although there is no field of law that is categorized as “domain name law,” the field of intellectual property law encompasses many issues related to domain investment. There are a number of lawyers and law firms that specialize in legal issues that deal with domain names outside the shore of Nigeria.
With the level of penetration and awareness DNS industry in Nigeria of today, there are several issues that might present themselves which would necessitate an attorney, and an attorney experienced in handling domain name disputes and transactions may be best to help. Some examples of legal issues that domain investors and companies in the domain business might face at some point include the following:
- UDRP response and UDRP filing
- Trademark infringement
- Domain name leasing and sales
- Complex licensing deals
- Cease and desist notices
- Publisher rights
It is now pertinent for intellectual property law firms to have lawyers on staff who will be familiar with domain name related transactions and legal issues. A lawyer who specializes in domain name related law can be helpful in the event a UDRP defense is needed, a cybersquatting lawsuit is filed, or if a complex deal structure needs to be completed.
Knowing who to call in case a situation presents itself is important, and a list of lawyers who are familiar with domain names is needed to be around. Although this list may not be comprehensive, it may contains a number of well-known attorneys who will have lawyers that can represent domain investors, domain registrars, and other domain name related companies. Many of these lawyers will have to be following the DNS industry trends, attend domain conferences and are advocates in the domain investment business. As at today, there are none well known law firm for domain name business despite the amount of money involve in the industry.
With the aforementioned, there is need for more awareness of the business and legal aspect of the domain name. The onus is on the industry players and the time to get started is now.