September 18, (THEWILL) – The dispute between the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) over the collection of royalties in Nigeria is yet to come to an end. The crisis has been brewing for some years now and there seems to be no end in sight yet.
Although the Nigeria Communication Commission has granted MCSN the Collective Management Organisation right for the Nigerian music industry, its rival organisation, COSON is not comfortable with that decision.
The CMO is the organisation that collects royalties on behalf of recording and performing artists. The NCC recently granted MCSN’s renewed license to continue to operate as a CMO in accordance with the Copyright Act, Cap C28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
Not pleased with the proclamation, COSON revealed last week through the General Manager of the organisation, Bernice Ashibuogwu, that NCC does not have any power under Nigerian law to make such proclamation or empowerment.
She accused the NCC of trying to take over the operations of COSON. She warned those paying MCSN for the use of works in the COSON repertoire to continue to do so at their own risk.
COSON was the first to be granted permission by the NCC to operate CMO in 2010, but the MCSN dragged them and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to court over the CMO right and the registration of the name ‘COSON’ under the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.
In its verdict, the court ruled that COSON was illegally approved by CAC, so COSON cannot lay claims to the name. It was stated that MCSN was the first to reserve the name, COSON with the CAC before the Performing Mechanical Rights Society (PMRS) approached CAC for a change of name to COSON.
The court also made it clear that PMRS’s operation is restricted to musical rights so it cannot use COSON, which encompasses rights arising from literature, arts, music, drama, cinematography, broadcast, and computer.
Despite a court ruling, COSON continued with its operation but its licence to operate CMO was revoked by NCC, following a lingering factional dispute in the governing board of the organisation. The internal crisis within the organisation led to some members revoking their membership and joining MCSn, the rival organisation.