The umbrella body of royalty collection and distribution in Nigeria, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), has taken its fight to Port Harcourt as part of its resolution to commence legal actions against copyright infringement and royalty defaulters in Rivers and Bayelsa states.
The resolution was taken at the COSON Stakeholders’ forum, which took place Tuesday at the Novotel Conference Centre, Port-Harcourt, with key music industry players and stakeholders in attendance.
Present at the select stakeholders’ forum were Popular Music Star, High Chief Muma Gee, Chairman, Music Label Owners and Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN); Rivers and Bayelsa states, Mr. Isiguzo Luvinos K.C, Representative of the Zonal Coordinator of the Nigerian Copyright Commission; Ms. Judith Iyamu, Chairman of PMAN, Rivers State; Chief Wopara Elewa, DJAN National Secretary; DJ Perfect and DJAN executive, Mr Charles Wobodo.
Also present were several Port Harcourt and Bayelsa state artistes, record label executives, broadcasting stations, several Hotel representatives, bar, restaurants and event hall owners and music users from both states.
Welcoming participants to the forum, celebrated former President of PMAN and Chairman of the COSON Board, Chief Tony Okoroji, expressed his appreciation to the people of Rivers State for their warm hospitality, adding that the forum had been organized to enable stakeholders in Rivers and Bayelsa states have open discussions on steps to realign the music industry, so as to boost income, create employment and contribute meaningfully to national GDP at a time of dwindling revenue from oil.
Chief Okoroji informed all that collective management of copyright will play a more significant role in ensuring that the music business continues to be profitable, as well as buttress the COSON mantra, “Let the music pay!”
The COSON Chairman further repeated his call for an intellectual property revolution in Nigeria so that the creative, cultural and inventive capacity of the Nigerian people can be fired up for a new knowledge economy, based on Nigeria’s well-known ingenuity. He further stated that it was time the nation switched its attention from oil and gas and focused on the creative sector where according to him, the country has substantial comparative advantage. He noted that most of the world’s richest economies today have their foundation in knowledge, creativity and intellectual property which Nigeria is endowed with.
The forum resolved however, that unrelenting legal actions be activated to ensure that all recalcitrant organizations in the two states who deploy music in their businesses without any valid COSON copyright licence be compelled to obtain music copyright licence from COSON and pay necessary royalties to ensure that COSON members in these states get commensurate income from the use of their works. Such organizations include broadcasting stations, hotels, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, event centers, shopping malls, transport companies, product activation agencies among others.
It also resolved that necessary action be taken to ensure that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari gives appropriate directives to implement the resolutions taken on September 1 which form the ‘No Music Day’ 2017 demands, including the immediate implementation of the Private Copy Levy Scheme, which will help kick start the process of providing the right environment for the creative enterprise in Nigeria to thrive.
Speaking after the forum, COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji said, “The COSON Stakeholders’ Forum in Port Harcourt was a huge success. The participation of the people and response from the deliberations we had further shows that the respect for intellectual property has come to stay. The era of ‘monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’ is over for good. We look forward to more visits to this state as was clamored for during the forum’’
Also on the COSON team to Rivers State were COSON Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr Chibueze Okereke and COSON Head of New Media, Mr. Tolu Balogun.