By Eric Elezuo and Timothy Edaki

The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has called for the encouragement of creative minds and creativity in terms of copyright protection and asked for punishment for those who infringe on the rights of songwriters, composers amongst others.

This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Society, Chief Tony Okoroji, during a Press conference following the historic marking of 2018 edition of ‘No Music Day’, with the theme Copyright is Humanright – a phenomenon that began in 2009 when the nation’s music artiste, dissatisfied with the devastating level of copyright infringement staged a week long hunger strike at the National Theatre, Lagos.

“As we mark “No Music Day” today, we have also asked the thousands of members of COSON across Nigeria and other stakeholders in the music industry to stand up today and speak truth to power.

“It is our firm belief that creative people in Nigeria cannot afford to keep quiet any longer as Nigeria goes through another electioneering campaign season in which politicians hop from one end of the country to the other but no one offers any direction for the development and optimal deployment of the millions of Nigeria’s creative talents for national development.”

He also said that the association has become dissatisfied with the lot of politicians who promise to ensure that creativity is nurtured in the entertainment industry but on getting into power neglect the promises made.

“Today, we wish to tell Nigerian politicians that we will not be taken for granted anymore and we will not help people canvass for votes who after getting into office will abandon the creative industry to suffer in an environment that completely discourages creativity.”

“We are making it abundantly clear that it is only politicians who have developed a well thought out long-term plan for the progress of our industry and have shown clear interest in the development of the nation’s creative environment that can count on our significant support, the mobilization of our fans and their votes as elections approach. In the same manner, we will mobilize massively against those who have no plans to properly deploy the creative energy of young Nigerian people.”

Chief Okoroji further pleaded with all and sundry to ensure that in their own little way they contribute to the protection of creative minds in the industry by deploying their resources to make a worthwhile impact in the industry.

While noting that No Music Day is purely a Nigerian creation, Okoroji declared that the 2018 edition of No Music Day marks the ninth in the series since a group of aggrieved copyright practitioners stormed the National Theatre on a hunger strike in protest of alleged usurpation of copyright ownership.

He thanked all and sundry who contributed in making the day a success, noting that almost all radio stations in the country complied with the directive not to play music between the hours of 6 and 8am on the day.

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