COSON Crisis: PMAN Petitions NCC, Backs Omorogbe

 

The Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) on Tuesday called on the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to intervene in the lingering crisis rocking Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).

The group in the statement on Tuesday drummed up support for the factional chairman of COSON Efe Omorogbe.

They urged Tony Okoroji to step aside as Chairman and follow an earlier directive by NCC.

PMAN in the statement said Okoroji had been voted out as chairman by a valid COSON governing board and accused him of refusing to step aside despite that and “pronouncements and directives of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) the Agency that regulates and License CMOs in Nigeria”.

Okoroji has since rejected calls on him to step aside. In an earlier interview with Channels Television, he insisted that he remains the substantive Chairman of COSON.

He has also dismissed all the allegations against him as a campaign by external interests seeking personal gains.

PMAN is, however, unhappy with Okoroji’s stand and the implication for COSON.

“It has become evident that Chief Okoroji has become a law unto himself, and COSON cannot be regulated under his leadership,” PMAN said in its statement.

The association added that stakeholders are concerned about the damage which the crisis will inflict on COSON’s management system and the creative industry in general.

Calling on the regulator

PMAN, therefore, called on the NCC to perform its duty as the regulator of COSON, and compel Okoroji and allow Efe Omorogbe to take charge of the affairs of the organisation.

The statement was jointly signed by its President, Pretty Okafor; First Vice Sunny Neji; Second Vice Zaaki Azzay; Chairman Media Ruggedman; Chairman Projects Felix Duke; and Chairman events Asha Gangali.

PMAN’s reaction to the lingering COSON crisis comes few days after multiple award-winning singer Innocent Idibia popularly known as Tu Baba called on the NCC to urgently enforce its position in the lingering crisis rocking Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).

Tu Baba in his petition said some members of the COSON’s board who are seeking accountability and transparency are allegedly being harassed and intimidated by police force after being allegedly masterminded by Okoroji.

Omorogbe is well known in the music industry as 2Baba’s manager for over than a decade.

Intellectual Property: COSON, MCSN Fight Over Copyright Management

Few weeks after the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria popularly known as MCSN announced an approval to operate as a copyright management organisation in Nigeria, its fierce rival, the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON is challenging the legality of the said approval.

COSON, which has been operating as the sole copyright management ogarnisation in Nigeria since 2010, maintains that operating multiple royalty collecting bodies in a country could lead to chaos.

“Those who know the industry know that the approval of multiple collecting societies is an invitation to chaos, unending disputes, poor royalty collection and poverty in the music industry,” COSON Chairman, Tony Okoroji, said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, a delighted MCSN believes this would only create a competitive atmosphere.

MCSN Chairman Orits Wiliki said the belief that multiple copyright societies won’t work was “the assumption of people who do not know how it works and those who want to hide under certain umbrellas to say certain things”.

He added, “In America you have over six societies, how are they operating? In the UK you have over six; how are they operating? In France you have over 15, how are they operating? In Canada you have over 25; how are they operating?

“So, it’s simply what you use that you pay for. If I don’t use your work, then you have no right to come to me to ask for any payment.”

Wiliki said it was important for people who use musical content to technologically document whatever work they use to ensure they can provide proof of what was used and what wasn’t.

Okoroji, however, claimed MCSN had yet to fulfill the Nigerian Communication Commission’s application requirement, so an approval from the office of the attorney general of the federation alone meant its operations were illegal.

He said, “Section 39 (3) of the Copyright Act states as follows: The commission shall not approve another society in respect of any class of copyright owners if it is certified that an existing copyright society adequately protects the interest of that class of copyright owners.

“The operative words here are ‘shall not’. The question here is that ‘who made the determination that the existing collecting society, COSON, does not adequately protect the copyright interests of the class that it represents and when was that determination made?”

Wiliki, however, said, “People misinterpreted the provisions of that section to suit their own hidden agenda. The Copyright Act is very clear in that Section 39 that they are harping on.”

He stressed that the Copyright Act never encouraged monopoly or asked the NCC to protect a monopoly.

“Section 39 actually said you may not approve another society for the same class of work if the existing one satisfy everybody. So you can see it’s discretionary and not rigid. People choose to interpret it to suit their agenda,” he said.

As the copyright controversy which has been on for many years between these two organisations continues, the ricochet effect on the Nigerian artistes is gradually becoming obvious.

Ebenezer Obey Made Professor Of Music

imagesVeteran musician, Ebenezer Obey was recently made the Professor of Music at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.

The ‘Juju’music icon was honoured by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Saburi Adejin Adesanya, at the Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD) Hall in the institution.

He is said to have donated musical instruments worth millions of Naira to the department as part of his promise and commitment to the university.

At the event were notable dignitaries in the Ogun state traditional and political circle which includes the Alake of Egba land, Aremu Gbadebo, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, and former president Olusegun Obasanjo‘s wife Bola Obasanjo.

Also present were Tony Okoroji, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, Demola Dada, Senator Lekan Mustapha, Hon Adejare, Barrister Segun Odumela and ace music producer, Laolu Akins.

Closing the event, Obey thanked the university and promised the school that he would serve the institution with his heart and might.