The news below, needless to say, is what industry experts, artists and the public at large was expecting. If you missed the legal brouhaha and the underlying conflict, click the following AML article to find out what the fuss is all about:
“The Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria, Chief Tony Okoroji, has announced that a scheme has been worked out which should end the recent conflict between the members of COSON and the Nigerian broadcasting industry under the auspices of Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) and independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN).
In his New Year message to the music industry just issued in Lagos, Chief Okoroji said ‘I am happy to announce that we are now in a position to bring to an end the dispute between COSON on the one hand and Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) and independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) on the other.
‘Any moment from now, I expect the NBC to announce a framework which if fully implemented will bring to an end the era of the ban of the broadcast of the music of Nigeria’s best artistes on our nation’s airwaves. The implementation of the framework should also make it unnecessary for COSON to continue to deploy multiple-litigation to compel broadcasting stations to pay appropriate copyright royalties for the musical works and sound recordings they broadcast. There is no question that if we follow through with the process, we would have unchained the music industry in Nigeria and set it on a part of growth hitherto unknown. The broadcast industry should also benefit because it will operate in an atmosphere of stability and certainty’.
In the statement titled ‘2014 – A YEAR OF UNPRECEDENTED BOOM FOR THE NIGERIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY’, Chief Okoroji described 2013 as a watershed year for the music industry in Nigeria. According to him, ‘We finally began a much needed and much postponed open conversation with the Nigerian broadcasting industry. Fierce as the engagement may have seemed, I believe that it was absolutely necessary and a lot of lessons have been learnt as a result. Both the music and broadcasting industries in Nigeria will be better for it over the long run.
‘Even during the end of year festivities, the conversations continued on several fronts with the historic engagement of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and several well-meaning Nigerian institutions and individuals.’
Chief Okoroji assured that COSON is ready to work conscientiously with the different partners in the broadcasting industry and the regulatory agencies to ensure that the framework is successfully implemented and that the Nigerian nation benefits from the episode.
Chief Okoroji, in the statement, repeated the earlier call by COSON on the National and State Assemblies and all the governments of the federation to ensure that clear provisions are made in the budgets of all Federal and State government owned broadcast stations for the payment of copyright royalties.
In the words of Chief Okoroji, ‘it is very well known that most of these stations were set up for political reasons. They have very little chance of generating proper revenue. Meanwhile, they sustain their operations by freely using the intellectual property of innocent citizens who have invested in creativity with hard earned money. The Nigerian music industry cannot and should not be expected to subsidize broadcasting in Nigeria. The capital requirements of the stations are budgeted, the salaries of the staff are budgeted but the royalties to those who create and invest in the music which sustains the stations are not budgeted. This cannot continue’.
In the message, Chief Okoroji discussed several initiatives which COSON is working on to create new and sustainable streams of income for practitioners in 2014.
The COSON Chairman declared, ‘As we begin the year 2014, we must rededicate ourselves to the full engagement of the Nigerian people, institutions and the various governments on the potential contributions of the Nigerian music industry to the socio-economic development of the Nigerian nation. We must bring to national attention the necessity to fully deploy the substantial international comparative advantage which our nation possesses in this area so as to provide hundreds of thousands of jobs to the teeming masses of Nigerian youth who today parade the streets of our country with little hope.
He commended practitioners in the industry for the substantial unity of purpose displayed in the recent steps taken by the industry to liberate the industry and create new and sustainable streams of income for practitioners. He promised that in the New Year, COSON will remain fully engaged as an important driver of the process.”