By Eric Elezuo Photos: Funmi Adeyemi
The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), in its efforts to further promote music and intellectual property in general declared a “No Music Day” on Friday. The exercise was widely observed across the country as many broadcast stations halted the broadcast of music between the hours of 8am and 10am as a mark of solidarity with the nation’s creative industries.
The belt was rather dedicated to the broadcast of interviews, documentaries, debates and discussions on the rights of creative people and the potential contributions of creative activities to the national economy just as flags at the COSON House flew at half-mast.
The event was followed with an ‘open house’ event held at COSON House with vibrant media presence and was attended by several key industry personnel.
In his official address on ‘The State of the Nigerian Music Industry’, the COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, who was represented by COSON GM, Chinedu Chukwuji reiterated his desire for a new Nigeria economy driven by knowledge and creativity.
‘‘We believe that the time has come for our music industry to go beyond simply providing entertainment, but playing a key role in nation building. Today, we demand a new Nigeria in which the people of wealth and influence are no longer those who have brazenly stolen the people’s wealth or scammed other people of what rightly belongs to them.
“We ask for a Nigeria driven by knowledge and creativity. We want a nation where a songwriter can depend on his creativity and live well; a good performer does not have to worry about how to feed his family; a talented filmmaker or actor will not be burdened by where his next rent will come from; a gifted author can become a millionaire and does not have to sweat at the thought of his children’s school fees and a fashion designer with a unique style can be celebrated for his or her creativity. We ask for a Nigeria in which a great photographer can be a man of means; an architect does not also have to be a builder to earn commensurate income from his talent; an inventor can live off his invention and a creator of content can thrive from the deployment of his content.
“We earnestly ask for a Nigeria in which a lecturer is no longer ashamed to say that he teaches for a living. In other words, we demand a nation in which knowledge and creativity are celebrated,” Chief Okoroji said.
To further create a new environment for the music industry to thrive, COSON, among other things demanded the full implementation of the Private Copy Levy scheme without any further delay as well as prevail on the Nigerian Communications Commission to maintain zero tolerance for the infringement of the Intellectual Property rights of Nigerian citizens whose works are deployed by companies.
The demands further spread across to other sectors of the economy including government owned broadcast stations, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the Ministers of Industry, Trade & Investment, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Information and culture.
He also emphasized that the Nigerian Copyright Commission which was unlawfully placed under the supervision of the Minister of Justice is brought back to the Ministry of Culture as provided under the law, just he noted that the National Assembly should ‘act with dispatch to ensure the promulgation into law of the new Copyright Bill’.
The occasion also unveiled the ‘Music for National Stability’ Project; which aims at ensuring the music industry not only provide entertainment but play a major role in nation building and vigorously promote Nigerian Music Industry to contribute more meaningfully to the nation’s GDP.
Mr. Chukwuji also disclosed that the much awaited seven spectacular events of COSON Week 2017 scheduled to hold from October 29 to November 4, will have the ‘Music for National Stability’ project as its major mandate.