The Copy Right Society of Nigeria (COSON) started its one week planned programme with a church service on Sunday at the Household of God Church and a lecture on Monday, May 20, 2013, at the National Theatre, Iganmu Lagos. The lecture, based on ‘Intellectual Property, Communications, International Co-Operation and National Development, was delivered by Helge Ronning, a professor.
The event was well attended by Rolf Ree, Norway ambassador to Nigeria, Tony Okoroji, chairman of COSON, Bright Chimezie, Opa Chris Ajulo, Dizi Ike Falola, Arnold Udoka, and many more prominent musicians. The panellist for the lecture consisted: Bankole Sodipo, president, Intellectual Property Law Association of Nigeria (IPLAN), Adebambo Adewopo, professor of Intellectual Property Law, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Emevwo Biakolo, dean, School of Media and Communication, Pan Africa University, Tarja Koskinen-Olsson, honorary president, International Federation of Reprographic Rights Organisation (IFFRO), and International Copyright consultant.
In his opening remark, Bunnel, honourable justice of the Court of Appeal, said the creative industry in Nigeria was robust and agile, saying “the Nigerian culture industry has acquired both local and international recognition. It has been known to have its own brands – Nollywood, Niaja music, compared with other well known industries.”
In his lecture titled: ‘Cultural Industries and Economies of Creation,’ Helge Ronning argued that most cultural industries were based around a combination of five element. “The first, is the activities of the industry involve some form of creativity in their production. Second, the cultural industries are concerned with the generation and communication of symbolic meaning. Third, symbolic goods and services have as ‘first use’ the communication of ideas, rather than a functional value.
“Fourth, the core cultural industries deal with the industrial production and circulation of texts and are centrally reliant on the work of symbol creators. Fifth, the output of cultural industries embodies, at least potentially, some form of intellectual property,” he said, and also went further and talked about: “cultural industries, creative industries, different and interrelated concepts, intellectual property, author’s rights and copyright.”
According to him, cultural industries are vital for economic development and entrepreneurship. The role of cultural policy is to ensure – creating the space for different types of cultural expression, including local, regional, and national cultural identities, which may not play to a global market, and may never get big bucks.
“Finally, we must never forget that the right of authors and performers of all kinds – composers, writers, filmmakers, singers, actors, musicians are the foundation for cultural industries. To struggle to uphold our rights must be a central element in all enlightened cultural policy initiatives,” he said.
Biakolo also argued that cultural arts and cultural works were economic production, saying “the GDP derived from this industry is much. There needs to be a partnership involved so that we don’t walk into silence. Every hand has to be on deck, so there should be a partnership between the police, NCC, artistes, producers, marketers, etc. All need to be involved in the copyright protection and also have a broader frame of discussion to put a place scheme.”
One of the panellist, Tarja Koskinen-Olsson, said “copyright is a tool for culture, as a currency we use. The more the details of copying the less piracy. You need proper tool for the avoidance of piracy. We need organisations to manage the rights of individuals and copyright tools.” She concluded by saying “licence your right or you lose your right.”
Efe Marogu of Now Music said: “If the owners of the music feel grateful for making music, for Now Music playing it, or for Alaba mix promoting their songs, then there is a reason.” He also complained about the absent of the A-list artiste, talent managers, record labels in the industry at the lecture, saying “this is not only the struggle for the government or industry alone but for the artiste to be involved in the struggle too.”
In his closing remark, Tony Okoroji presented a plaque to Helge Ronning, as his appreciation to him for honouring the lecture. He thanked all in attendance for their love and respect for creativity, and their continuous celebration of the human spirit and for being a great example to the rest of the world.
The COSON week of activities continues today, Friday, with a Jumat service at the Lagos Central Mosque, while the COSON music awards night holds on Saturday at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki.