In the past four months, there has been a very messy public rift amongst founding members of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) stemming from issues relating to abuse of power, misappropriation of funds, etcetera.
Although a very detailed account of the COSON fiasco has been earlier provided by this publication, we will do you the good of abstractly iterating.
On December 7, 2017, the COSON board announced the dethronement of the organization’s long-standing chairman Tony Okoroji whose leadership has been labeled unethical and non-transparent. After a vote of no confidence was conducted by ten active members of the COSON board, Okoroji reportedly lost to renowned music executive Efe Omorogbe who was immediately declared chairman of the organization.
Less than two weeks after this action, Omorogbe’s victory was annulled by the COSON general assembly with Tony Okoroji reinstated as chairman bordering on claims that the previously conducted change of chairmanship procedure was conspirational.
What has since followed is mayhem! Several press statements, dramatic showdowns, advocative hashtags et al from both side of the divide in an attempt to defend their respective rights to the chairmanship position. The association as it appears has now split into two factions; some in support of Okoroji and others against.
As harrowing as the COSON leadership crisis seems, it has failed to become a mainstream discourse as new-age artistes and songwriters have continued to distance themselves from the conversation.
Big Question(s): What is COSON and why is it important for every musician to identify with the activities of the society?
The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) is a collective management organization approved by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in 2010 to grant copyright licenses, collect royalties, and distribute same to copyright owners of musical works or sound recordings. In simple terms; COSON is responsible for collecting monies from users who stream, perform/play, sample or interpolate a person’s musical work and pay it to the right owners (usually; singers, songwriter’s or labels).
Why every musician must identify with the society?: COSON’s daily activity is to ensure that owners of musical works are paid whenever their content is used and that’s more than enough reason to be involved.
Some musicians have whispered lack of interest bordering their reasons on claims that the organization is mostly political and fails to represent the interest of music creators that it posses to stand for.
Isn’t this a familiar attitude? The same youths who speak ill of the runnings of the Government are the ones who fail to apply for a voters card. Efe Omorogbe gave a succinct analogy to this effect. “You are not going to fix the problem by throwing your hands up and saying; let it be. When we say none of my business; I voted the last time my vote did not count… Oh, you had breakfast and now you’re hungry again.Why don’t you say oh I had breakfast in the morning so I won’t eat again?”.
Being standoffish or refusing to engage in matters that dictate our future, control our revenue and well being has so far not proven to be a solution. Maybe it’s time to engage. Scratch that; it’s really time to ENGAGE.
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