I saw this released statement by COSON (performance rights organization in Nigeria (PRO)) about a month ago when I was away and thought the statements by Efe Omoregbe (owner of the NOW Muzik and music manager to the stars) was a tad bit too strong. This is in contrast to the statements made by COSON’s General Manager and the prosecuting attorney.
The fact remains that even if a Plaintiff prevails at trial, it does not mean that they can necessarily collect on the judgment. In a country like Nigeria, I would imagine it is even more difficult to enforce judgments. As such, it is in COSON’s best interest to work with “defaulters” because while litigation and winning may be good for COSON, it may not always resolve a matter in its entirety, per se. Plus, litigation is expensive.
Read the story below and zoom in on Efe’s statements at the bottom.
What do you think? Too strong or no big deal? Keep the whole Efe Omoregbe v. Kennis Music’s Kenny Ogungbe heated exchange of words at the NETng Conference in mind.
COSON WAR ON DEFAULTERS: “We Mean Business”
Mr. Chinedu Chukwujij, General Manager Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s sole Collective Management Organization for musical works and sound recordings, has reiterated the firm decision of COSON to take every necessary step in addressing the continuous defiance of some copyright defaulters.
Following last week’s decision by the society’s Board to ensure that the right of every Nigerian musician is not continuously violated, Mr. Chukwuji has said that there is no going back as every arsenal in the COSON armoury will be unleashed on those who have refused to heed the voice of wisdom.
Speaking on the matter during the week to a group of music users who had come to the COSON office to obtain copyright licenses, Mr. Chukwuji said, ‘I have said it many times before and I will say it again, COSON is not joking. We are a professional organization and we have the mandate of our members and much of the international community to deliver to them what is their right under the law. We have used all forms of moral suasion to get all music users in Nigeria to obey the law. Those who are wise are working with COSON and have no problem. Those who are recalcitrant will pay a huge price. I have no choice but to execute the directive of my Board. Our teams of lawyers and the law enforcement agencies are being briefed. We mean business’’
He added that in the international copyright community, Nigeria had been a laughing stock for too long and that the COSON Board is resolute that the abuse of the rights of musicians in Nigeria which has gone on for several decades and has cost the nation thousands of jobs and massive capital flight must come to an end now. According to Mr. Chukwuji, “To try to intimidate COSON would be a waste of time. On the COSON Board today are three crack lawyers. Our Chairman has dedicated a lifetime to this struggle and is tried, tested and familiar with the terrain. COSON is not joking.”
Copyright lawyer, Mr. Justin Ige who has successfully prosecuted several multimillion naira cases for COSON, has confirmed that his team is ready to go to work to ensure that finally users of music realize that there is a significant price to pay for the broadcast and public performance of unlicensed music and sound recordings.
Said Mr. Ige, “I don’t know why people must wait until a huge legal suit is thrown at them and they have to spend so much money before doing that which they ought to have done. In any case, we will do our job to protect the members and affiliates of COSON.”
Mr. Efe Omorogbe, a member of the COSON Board and CEO of NOW Muzik had also spoken on the matter. Said Mr. Omorogbe, “Those who are ready to work with COSON will find out that we are very reasonable and friendly. I however assure those who want a fight that they will badly regret the day they decided to engage COSON in a fight. We have reviewed the compliance level with respect to music copyright royalty payments in Nigeria and have come to the conclusion that while there are several users who have shown that they want to play by the rules, there are those who are playing games. They erroneously believe that they can conspire, delay and successfully confront COSON and continue the era of free music. They are badly mistaken and clearly do not understand the passion, total determination and zeal that drives the work of COSON. We are ready.”
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