The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s sole government approved collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings has announced that come October 1, 2010, the era of free music on Nigerian air waves and in public places will be gone forever. The announcement was made by COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, at the Boardroom of the society in Lagos during the signing of a royalty collection agreement between COSON and Olusola Adekanola & Co, one of the nation’s foremost indigenous firms of chartered accountants.
By the agreement, the skills and resources of the two organizations are being aggregated to ensure that starting October 1, no organization using music in a commercial setting or in public anywhere in Nigeria is allowed to do so without the payment of copyright royalties as required by law. According to Okoroji, “The time has finally come for everyone to do their duty. We have respected the users of music. We expect them to reciprocate that respect. Any of them that is not licensed by October 1 may be attracting sanctions from us or will be exposed to the full weight of the other tools in our tool box”
At the agreement signing ceremony during the week, Chief Okoroji said that the choice of Olusola Adekanola & Co for the COSON assignment was based on the firm’s proven capacity to deliver. He said that their mandate is to use their nationwide infrastructure to reach every nook and cranny of Nigeria and collect the money due to long suffering Nigerian copyright owners. He added that beyond the collection of revenue, COSON is very mindful of the prudent, professional and transparent management of the copyright royalties collected so that at the end of the day the real copyright owners are not short changed.
The implication of the new regime is that from October 1 all broadcast media organisations, hotels, restaurants, event venues, advertising companies, banks, telecoms establishments, airlines, road transporters, oil companies and such other enterprises in Nigeria which use music in any way to aid their operations will be made to comply with the Copyright Act or face legal consequences.
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