Legal Drama

NCC Maliciously Raids MCSN Office, Again, Arrests 5 Officials – What are they Getting at?


I received this story and I am not sure I understand this move. It seems targeted, mean spirited, malicious and an attempt to keep COSON as the only collecting rights organization in Nigeria. Needless to say, I totally am against this move. Sadly, this is NOT the first time the NCC has harassed MCSN and its officials in the past. See the case below before you see the press releases of September 18th, 2012 sent to me.

Nigeria: Court Awards N40 Million Against NCC in Favour of MSCN … Says MSCN is an Owner, Assignee

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has awarded N40million as damages, against the Nigeria Copyrights Commission, NCC, its Director General, Assistant Director, Mr Amodu Alewu; Mr Henry Njoku and Inspector General of Police over the raid on Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd, MCSN on December 14, 2007.

Officers of MCSN, Mr Mayo Ayilaran, Mr Orits Williki, Mr Louis Udoh and Mr Halim Mohammed were also arrested and detained during the raid.

Trial judge, Justice Charles Achibong, held that the action of the defendants was unlawful, unwarranted and in breach of the applicants fundamental rights.

On the issue of whether MCSN was a copy rights collecting agency, the court said “the offence of purporting to perform the duties of a society without the approval of the Copyright Commission created by section 39 of the Copyright Act, cannot and does not relate to the activities of owners, assignees and exclusive licenses of copyright and I hold so.

“Any provision of any statute that in any way seeks to curb the enjoyment of property rights, to subjugate or distract from same without discernible purpose other than the registration and monitoring of same is unconstitutional and so I hold”.

Any statutory provision that seeks to criminalize the purposeful protection of property rights by those in whom such rights are vested is unconstitutional, null and void and so I hold. Whatever else it seeks to do, the provisions of section 39 of the Copyright Act do not seek to hinder, encumber or restrict or exclusive licensees of copyright, no does it intend to criminalize such private enforcement.

“And to the extent the Act suggests such criminalization, it is unconstitutional, null and void. The Copyrights was established to reinforce the rights of copyright owners, assignees and licensees, not to be an institutional hurdle with arbitrary power to restrict the private enjoyment and enforcement of such rights. Copyright owners do not exist at the pleasure of the Copyright Commission or merely to validate its establishment and most definitely the Copyright Commission was not established to undermine, denigrate or exact obeisance from copyright owner,” the court held. . . Vanguard Newspaper

Okay folks. So, you see the ruling before. The court is clearly angry at this stupid attempts and harassment on these individuals. Why, in 2012, are those actions repeating themselves again? Was the trial court’s decision overturned on the appellate level?

-Uduak
@uduaklaw

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