• Tue. Sep 20th, 2022

Copyright Board Authorizes MCSN to Operate as CMO

ByChad J. Johnson

Sep 8, 2022

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has approved the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) to operate as the sole Collective Management Organization (CMO) in the national music and sound recording industry.

The Chief Executive of the NCC, Dr. John Asein, said so in a statement issued Thursday in Abuja by the Director of Public Affairs of the Commission, Mr. Vincent Oyefeso.

Asein said: “The attention of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has been drawn to recent news reports challenging the statement made by Mr. Matthew Ojo, Director and Head of Office of the Commission in Lagos, regarding the CMO approved in the music sector.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the only CMO authorized to operate as a CMO in music and sound recordings in Nigeria under the provisions of the Copyright Act (Cap C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) is the MCSN.”

The Managing Director said that the approval previously granted to the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) expired on May 19, 2019 and has not been renewed.

“This position was confirmed by the Federal High Court, Lagos, in Case No. FHC/l/CS/425/2020 when the court ruled on December 1, 2021 that COSON was not entitled to relief from a injunction restraining the Commission from revoking its operating license because the license it sought to retain lapsed.

“Although in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act and the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007, COSON applied in 2019 for the renewal of its license, it refused to comply under the conditions stipulated by the Commission as the regulatory agency, including submission to an independent judicial audit of its accounts.

“It is an offense under Sections 39(4) and (5) of the Copyright Act for any group of persons (including a body corporate) to purport to perform the functions of a CMO (also “Collecting Society”) without the approval of the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

“It therefore follows that COSON cannot legally exercise the functions of a collecting society, including negotiation, licensing, collection and distribution of royalties,” he said.

According to him, the commission is not at this stage concerned with other questions relating to the internal governance or the corporate identity of COSON.

“But he is aware of the order of the Federal High Court in Case No. FHC/L/CS/274/2010 prohibiting COSON from using or continuing to use the name” Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd/Gte “, and that his appeal for a stay of execution of this judgment was refused by the same court on June 24, 2020.

“However, this serves as a notice to owners, users, corporations and the public on the status of COSON and that certain key officials of the company (regardless of their name) are under investigation for criminal offenses under copyright law.

“Therefore, anyone dealing with them as a CMO will do so at their own risk,” Asein said.

According to him, anyone who receives a request for royalties from COSON or who has any other information that could help the ongoing criminal investigation should report to the nearest office of the commission.

He expressed the commission’s commitment to reforming the copyright system by ensuring that creators and copyright owners benefit from their intellectual investments in the creative sector.

According to him, those entrusted with the administration of their rights are held accountable to acceptable standards of accountability and good governance. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Nick Nicholas/Julius Toba-Jegede