The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has debunked claims in some quarters that the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) has been authorised or approved to collect royalties on behalf of Nigerian musicians and other music industry stakeholders or to operate in Nigeria as a collective management organization.
A statement from COSON, signed by Communication and New Media Executive, Tolu Balogun, said that COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, who addressed a press conference in Lagos, was emphatic that MCSN has no such approval. According to him, MCSN even went to court to challenge the registration of COSON by the Corporate Affairs Commission CAC and lost.
“MCSN went ahead to challenge the constitutionality of the provisions of Section 39 of the Copyright Act which prescribes only one approved CMO for each class of works arguing that the provisions of Section 39 abridged their rights to freedom of association.
“In Suit No. FHC/L/CS/478/08, MCSN sought a declaration that Section 39 of the Copyright Act is unconstitutional, null and void. Justice I.M. Sani of the Federal High Court disagreed with them. They lost. They appealed Justice Sani’s decision. In Appeal No: CA/L/575/09, the Court of Appeal in another unanimous judgment vehemently disagreed with MCSN and ruled that the provisions of the Copyright Act are constitutional. MCSN once again lost.
“MCSN ignored the several rulings of the courts and continued to collect copyright royalties without approval. It was then that officers of the Nigerian Copyright Commission went to their office in Lagos and arrested their CEO, Mr. Mayo Ayilaran and six of his staff.
The matter once again went up to the Court of Appeal and the court in CAL/L/350/2013 (NCC v MCSN, Mayo Ayilaran & 6 others) unanimously ruled that the arrest was very much in order. Once again, MCSN lost.
COSON said there are laid down processes for the approval of a collective management organization in Nigeria and therefore demanded that the AGF to strengthen the copyright system in the country so that the system can effectively protect and promote creative enterprise in the nation and ensure that the Nigerian economy benefits from the creative ingenuity of Nigerian citizens and those interested in investing in our creative industries