Hundreds of gaily dressed members of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) stormed the Banquet Hall of Solab Hotels and Suites, Ikeja, recently for the 7th Annual General Meeting of the society.
Delivering his address, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, reiterated the Society’s mandate to help in resuscitating the nation’s crumbling economy.
He said: ‘‘The government has made it clear that it counts on the entertainment industry to play an important role in stabilizing the nation’s economy. I believe that it is our duty to do what we can to save our country and COSON is ready to work with the government to build a world class music industry in Nigeria that contributes meaningfully to the national economy and provides good paying jobs to hundreds of thousands of our citizens.
He highlighted that for COSON to solve its challenges, members of the Society must be involved, in collaboration with the government.
“For us to play our role effectively however, the government cannot pretend to understand our situation better than us. The government must engage us closely, listen to our issues and then take actions based on sound policy formulation instead of knee jack reactions.
“For instance, the government cannot say that it wants the entertainment industry to grow and yet looks the other way while government agencies engage in horrendous copyright infringement.”
Chief Okoroji urged the government to reconsider the reported directive granted the Nigeria Copyright Commission to approve another CMO.
“No one familiar with the history of the copyright system in Nigeria can see the wisdom in the chaos that has been caused by the reported directive to the NCC to approve another CMO for musical works and sound recordings and to stop the prosecution of seven criminal cases against an organization which has shown complete contempt for Nigerian law and institutions.
“Since the present government took over, we have repeatedly called for the activation of the private copy levy scheme provided for under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We have no reason at this moment to believe that the call is receiving appropriate attention.
“Around the continent, pirated Nigerian music continues to dominate the airwaves and music shops. We believe that a government which wants to grow our entertainment industry must take interest and engage meaningfully with these nations at the diplomatic and international trade levels and ensure that these national assets are not frittered away,” he said.
Okoroji further congratulated the society on the lofty achievement of building a reputable edifice for the society due for opening on May 20, 2017.
On royalty distribution, the COSON chairman said ‘It will be recalled that in December 2016 at the Extra-Ordinary General Meeting, the distribution of the sum of N200,000,000 (Two Hundred Million Naira) proposed by the Board, was approved. I am pleased to report that a significant percentage of members have received their royalties in accordance with the decisions approved by you”
There was an eruption of joy at the venue when Chief Tony Okoroji announced that the “COSON House” has become a reality. The celebrated author and Intellectual Property guru said ‘In line with the resolution passed by you at the Extra- Ordinary General Meeting of December 2014 directing your Board to work towards acquiring a befitting permanent office fully owned by our society. I am very happy to announce to you that a walking distance from this venue, the magnificent COSON House today stands in glory for all times at 41, Olwaleimu Street, Ikeja as a tribute to your trust and belief in our leadership”
Members at the AGM were later taken on a tour of the COSON House which accommodates the largest database of music in the nation with millions of entries run on documentation platforms like the WIPO designed WIPOCOS and the CISAC CISNET.
At the elections that took place during the AGM, four members of the Board: Mrs. Azeezat Allen, Mr. Audu Maikori, Hon John Ewelukwa Udegbunam and Chief Tony Okoroji were returned to the Board.