Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the country’s biggest and most respected copyright collective management organization, has warned the general public not to seek any license for the use of any musical works or sound recordings in the repertoire of COSON from the controversial Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN).
In a statement issued 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 Ms. 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 maneuvering 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.
The COSON General Counsel has also emphasized that 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. Miss Wash-Pam was equally emphatic that 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.
Miss Wash-Pam also reminded the public that COSON with membership across the length and breadth of the Nigerian nation, 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 in Nigeria through legally executed Deeds of Assignment or by legal agreements entered into with more than 100 Collective Management Organizations around the world.
Ms. Simi Wash-Pam also said that 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.
Ms. Wash-Pam concluded by saying that 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 a proper licence warning that any money given to MCSN for the use of any such work is money thrown into the bush.
It is on record that COSON which continues to issue music copyright licences and distribute millions of Naira to its members and affiliates, during the recent coronavirus lockdown earmarked the sum of 72.5 Million Naira for distribution to its members across Nigeria as palliatives. The distribution was done very successfully to musicians in every nook and cranny of Nigeria. Deploying the COSON unmatched database of musicians and works, its sophisticated bank electronic platform, the distribution was done very transparently.