Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s foremost copyright collective management organization, has warned music copyright users on the danger in obtaining copyright licence from the controversial Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN).
In a statement issued in Lagos Tuesday, on behalf of the society, the COSON General Counsel, Ms. Simi Wash-Pam, reminded music copyright users that the purported approval of MCSN as a collecting society by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) remains a subject of intense litigation at the Court of Appeal, Lagos, in Appeal No CA/L/415/18.
According to Wash-Pam, the recently announced “so called renewal” of approval of MCSN by the NCC led by Mr. John Asein, is of little significance.
“This is so because the manoeuvring still cannot permit MCSN to legally license musical works or sound recordings not owned by it or which have not been placed in its repertoire by lawful proprietary assignments or by means of any reciprocal representation agreements lawfully entered into.
“Under no circumstances is MCSN or any of its agents legally authorized to represent COSON or any of the thousands of members of COSON or lawfully license the use of any of the millions of musical works and sound recordings in the repertoire of COSON as none of the works, whether local or international, which are intellectual property belonging to individuals, has been assigned to MCSN.
“Not even the Nigerian Copyright Commission has the power under any law known in Nigeria to authorize MCSN or anyone else to license the musical works and sound recordings lawfully assigned to COSON or placed in the COSON repertoire by means of any reciprocal representation agreement,” the COSON lawyer explained.
Wash-Pam said COSON with membership drawn across the length and breadth of Nigeria, continues to operate as a full-fledged corporate entity representing millions of musical works and sound recordings assigned to it by its thousands of members and over 100 Collective Management Organizations around the world.
“It is laughable that MCSN which for several months, has misled the public by claiming that it had a subsisting licence is now dancing and celebrating the ‘renewal’ of the licence which it claimed had not expired.
“Anyone wishing to deploy any of the millions of musical works and sound recordings in the COSON repertoire should get in touch with the COSON Licensing Department at COSON House in Ikeja for proper licencing. Any money given to MCSN for the use of any such work is money thrown into the bush,” she warned.
It is on record that COSON which continues to issue music copyright licences and distribute monies to its members and affiliates, during the recent coronavirus lockdown paid out the sum of N72.5 million in two tranches – N50 million and N22.5 million – to its members across Nigeria, as palliatives.