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PMAN assures of collaboration with NCC to confront copyright infringers

The Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), has assured its members and the general public of the collaboration with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), to effectively confront infringers of copyright in Nigeria.

The umbrella body of Nigerian musicians also urged organisations that use musical works and sound recordings in their daily business operations to pay royalties to NCC licensed collective management organisation (CMO).

According to Pretty Okafor, the PMAN president, in a public statement the association issued on copyright and collection of royalties in Nigeria, PMAN has been following events in the music industry particularly as they relate to the issue of management of copyright and collection of royalties for music and sound recordings with a view to ensure remittance to the legal CMO and to rightful musicians, who deserve to eat the fruit of the labour.

In the statement, Okafor noted that PMAN has been following on the current travails of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), with the NCC; the government agency charged with the regulation and supervision of copyright matters, as well as, the clarifications by the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN), on various court judgments at the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Nigeria on collection of royalties on behalf of Nigerian musicians.

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Considering the suspension of COSON’s licence to operate as a collective management organisation by the NCC, and the directive from Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, that NCC should grant approval to MCSN as a CMO, PMAN has cleared the air on the CMO to collect royalties, noting that it is the NCC approved CMO, which is MCSN, that is authorized to do so until the suspension on COSON is lifted.

Speaking on the reasons for MCSN’s approval as CMO, Okafor noted that MCSN has always been willing and complying with every copyright regulations and requirements.

“MCSN has been established and operating since 1984 mainly as an owner, assignee and exclusive licensee of a huge repertoire of copyright works spanning musical works, sound recordings, dramatic works and audio-visual works before the introduction of CMO into our laws, which culminated in the Copyright Act 2004”, he disclosed.

Moreover, MCSN, which made its first local and international general distributions in 1987, according to Okafor, has consistently built on the effort until its operations were encumbered in 2010 when COSON was announced as the only licensed or approved CMO in Nigeria.

However, Okafor traced the root of COSON’s travails to the quest to remain as the only CMO in the country, and the directive by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to amicably end the cases between MCSN and NCC, and the approval granted to MCSN to operate as a CMO.

While COSON is still suspended, PMAN regretted that instead of fulfilling and compiling with certain requirements placed on it by Copyright Act 2004 and the Copyright (Collective Management Organisations) 2007 and as directed by the NCC, COSON resorted into personality attacks and suing certain individual officials of the NCC to court, a development that will delay the lifting of the suspension by NCC.

As the suspension still stands, PMAN is putting on notice, consumers of musical works and sound recordings and requesting them to obtain necessary licences for the use of the works from the approved organisation(s) as licensed by the NCC and adjudged by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Okafor concluded that the notice to the consumers of musical works is necessary because, “PMAN can no longer stand aloof while its members continue to wallow and die in avoidable poverty”.

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