Members of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN), Audio Visual Rights Society (AVRS) and Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (repronig) met in Lagos, recently, and re-emphasised the need to protect rights owners.
In his speech, NCC Director General, Dr. John Asein, said the essence of the meeting was to identify gaps and proffer solutions. He said that other objectives include, deepening NCC’s effort in the administration of copyright in Nigeria.
“We must support rights owners, who are the main beneficiary of copyright. We should walk the talk. No one should be allowed to exploit another person’s rights and get away with it. We should continue talking,” he said.
Asein also stressed the need for continuous collaboration with Collective Management Organisations (CMOs). He added: “If you consider what is coming in terms of employment or its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), you will discover that the creative sector is the next oil well. In fact, it is the only oil well that does not have expiry date as long as humans are on earth. But we must get it right in the copyright ecosystem for people to know that it is worth going into. We need to maximise returns on investment (ROI). There is also need for synergy with other agencies like NBC.”
He also stressed the need for every DJ to obtain license, noting that he will ask his people to pick defaulters up.
He said, “any DJ that is not licenced would be locked up. But we need to do sensitisation.”
Speaking in a similar vein, Chairman, MCSN, Orits Wiliki, said no one wants to pay money for works in Nigeria.
“Even in the broadcast media, majority just don’t want to pay and impunity that goes with it is alarming. When you buy a car, you pay for the petrol to fuel it. There is no broadcast station that can run without music, including lounge or hotels. My pains are losing our members to ailments like typhoid because they couldn’t afford medication. This is because people are using their works to make millions of naira. They know our justice system is slow. I think we can have a mediation council, where defaulters would meet with NCC. In Nigeria, if there were no music and comedy, we would have been killing ourselves on the roads,” he lamented.
For AVRS Chairman, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, “we need to get compensation so that right owners can have a better future. We need users as they need us. We must find out a way to work it out. We’ve taken some of our users to court, we’ve picketed some, we’ve even seized some infringing materials and police have been cooperating with us.”
Executive Secretary Nigeria Publishers Association (NPA), Emmanuel Abimbola, who represented Chairman of repronig, Prof. Olu Obafemi, said there is need to protect literary works and ensure authors get compensation for their works. He suggested that photocopy centres that make photocopying of authors’ books should obtain licence so they pay token to repronig.