These fights and legal issues get quite interesting and of course the focus is on the impact of the entire creative eco-system, not just music. Read the COSON generated story below.
COSON Will Not Be Intimidated By The Leadership Of BON COSON Will Not Be Intimidated By The Leadership Of BON.
Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has read with amusement the empty threat by the leadership of Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) that its affiliate stations may no longer play the music of Nigerian citizens on Nigerian stations because Nigerian musicians are asking for their right to be paid copyright royalties for the exploitation of their music as is done in every country in the world.
The threat by the leadership of BON reveals the crass ignorance with which some members of BON have been misled and steered into easily avoidable crisis. It is indeed revealing that these people who pretend to be leaders of the broadcast industry in Nigeria, in this day and age, believe that they can play music belonging to foreign nationals for free in Nigeria without any consequence. For their information, by the reciprocal representation agreements entered into between COSON and several collective management organizations around the world and the various copyright conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory, every broadcast station in Nigeria is bound to pay copyright royalties for foreign music as it must for the music belonging to Nigerians. Failure to pay exposes Nigeria to both economic and diplomatic sanctions.
Those members of BON who have been made to believe that they can hide under foreign music to avoid their duty to pay for the intellectual property of Nigerian citizens which they consume are warned that they have no place to hide.
For many years, some leaders of the broadcasting industry in Nigeria have lived in opulence and squandered the money that should have been used to pay royalties to musicians whose rights they have continued to infringe recklessly while the artistes died in penury. For many years, they have used ‘divide and rule’ tactics and threats to weaken the music industry and ensure that the industry did not effectively challenge its exploitation. It is this section of the broadcast industry with the close connivance of the leadership of BON that has been sponsoring the renegade group with no legal standing called MCSN which is presently facing criminal trial with its leaders at the Federal High Court. The aim of the BON leadership has been to continue to divide the music industry, create confusion and continue with the stealing of the intellectual property of creative people in Nigeria. Finally, the chicken has come home to roost and the day of reckoning has come.
Three and half years ago and unexpectedly, all the major national organizations in the Nigerian music industry came together under the banner of the Nigerian Music Industry Coalition to speak with one voice and COSON was formed. COSON fulfilled all the requirements under the law and was approved by the Federal Government. COSON has received support from the entire copyright community around the world for its professionalism and steadfastness in the defence of the intellectual property rights of creative people in Nigeria. With the work of COSON, the sad image of Nigeria as a lawless nation and the bastion of piracy and other forms of copyright infringement has begun to abate.
COSON has done everything to engage broadcasting stations in Nigeria to do what is done in every other country in a very professional manner. COSON has met with Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN), National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and practically every major broadcasting network in Nigeria. While there are broadcasting stations that have reached agreements with COSON and are broadcasting music comfortably as required by law, some other stations have allowed themselves to be deceived by the empty boast of people who have told them that they can ‘handle’ COSON. These stations have been stalling and waiting for COSON to be ‘handled’ and they may have to wait forever.
Why is the leadership of BON suddenly having emergency meetings over COSON when it has frittered away many opportunities in the past to sit down and resolve issues with COSON? Why is BON flexing muscles that it does not have? BON is not a federal government agency or a regulatory body. It is simply an association of the willing and there are many in the broadcast industry who have no time for BON. The fact is that the recent copyright infringement action brought by COSON against DAAR Communications, owners of Raypower, AIT, and Faaji FM has uncovered the supposedly big masquerade, shown that in Nigeria, no one is above the law and exposed the MCSN puppets in BON and DAAR. Rather than face the court action squarely and deal with the matter conclusively, the best AIT and Raypower can do is to hire some MCSN persons to come and rant about COSON from morning till night everyday on their stations and issue empty threats. Someone needs to tell them that the times have changed, their old tactics cannot work anymore and the days of free music on air in Nigeria are gone forever.
COSON is committed to using the instruments of the law to fully defend the rights of creative people in Nigeria and promote the Nigerian nation to the world. We will not be intimidated and will never act outside the law. We are committed to ensuring that musicians walk tall in Nigeria and earn a decent living for their work. We will do what is necessary to ensure that our industry offers gainful employment to the thousands of our countrymen who roam the streets today aimlessly. Take it from me: we will work day and night, without fear or favour, to continue to promote the spirit of the COSON slogan, ‘Let the music pay!’
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