In what could have once been described as impossible, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) on May 21, 2014 at Eko Hotel& Suites, Lagos signed a historic music copyright royalty agreement with the entire broadcasting industry in Nigeria. It was celebrations galore at the star studded signing ceremony attended by the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Emeka Mba; Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. Afam Ezekude; Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa who is also Chairman of the 400 member Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, and several other top government officials.
The event brought to an end the prolonged disagreement between the music and broadcast industries in Nigeria spanning over 30 years which culminated in a major crisis in the last quarter of 2013.
It will be recalled that following the back-to-back and significantly publicized copyright infringement law suits filed by COSON against some of Nigeria’s topmost broadcasting stations in 2013, the stations under the aegis of Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) and Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) announced the suspension of the broadcast of the music of nearly all the best known members of COSON on radio and TV stations across Nigeria. This resulted in massive public outcry across the country followed by an all-out media war between the music and broadcast industries.
In reaction, the NBC and NCC stepped in in an attempt to resolve the matter. This led to the setting up of the COSON/BON/IBAN/NBC/NCC Joint Committee. Under the auspices of the committee, comprehensive negotiations have gone on between COSON and broadcasting stations in Nigeria since the beginning of 2014.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the NBC DG, Mr. Emeka Mba who commended the Chairman of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji for what he described as Chief Okoroji’s doggedness and commitment to the respect of Intellectual property rights in the Nigerian creative industry, said, ” This historic event isn’t just about the Nigerian music industry but the creative industry at large. This is about the respect of intellectual property in Nigeria. Let us all see this as thebeginning of better things to come for the Nigerian creative industry. This goes to tell other sectors that have been abusing creativity that the time is up.