Leadership of the Music Label Owners and Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN) has asserted that the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) has no choice except to eat the humble pie by falling back on the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) to get out of the present dilemma.
COSON had filled several suits slamming billions of Naira on members of BON for outright refusal to pay royalties on use of music, forcing BON to move against Nigerian musicians with a threat to stop playing music authored by Nigerians. BON has put members on notice but yet to set aside a date for the great music shutdown.
Reacting to the development, MORAN President, Hon. John Ewelukwa Udegbunam said that guidelines prescribed for BON by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) requires members to play 80 percent of Nigerian music adding that for BON will only be playing to the gallery to contemplate switching to foreign music when COSON has signed agreement with relevant collecting management organisation in Africa, Europe and elsewhere.
“Do we need to remind BON that under the Nigerian Broadcast Code, the premise on which their broadcast licenses exist, every station is required to play at least 80% of Nigerian music? What does BON want, to replace Nigerian music with? Generator sounds or foreign music? Before they think of foreign music, BON should be aware that COSON has entered into several reciprocal agreements with foreign collecting societies and represents foreign music right here in Nigeria. Whichever way BON goes, it will still fall back to COSON”, he said. See full statement below.
MORAN DARES BON TO CARRY OUT THREAT TO BAN NIGERIAN MUSIC
The leadership of Music Label Owners & Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN) has heard with great amusement and disbelief the repeated broadcast by Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) announcing its intention to pull out Nigerian music from our national airwaves because COSON, the organization licensed by the Federal Government of Nigeria to collect royalties on behalf of artistes has requested broadcast stations in Nigeria to pay copyright royalties for the music used across the country as is done everywhere in the world.
We have also read on the pages of some national dailies the affirmation of this half-baked threat made by an association which is expected to understand the value of intellectual property in today’s world. We have asked ourselves severally: is BON reasoning at all? Does BON understand the implications of this infantile decision? Or does BON believe that Nigeria is a nation with no laws and no respect for human rights? The payment of copyright royalties is nothing new, if anything; Nigeria is way behind in this responsibility towards right owners, so why is BON having a hard time being a responsible association?
In its laughable announcement, BON stated that its members are ‘frustrated by the injurious monopoly and arbitrary imposition of manipulated’ tariffs on its members by COSON. How ridiculous? Can BON deny that it is unaware that the Copyright (Collective Management Organization) Regulations, 2007 has made provisions for any organization/body which disagrees with tariffs issued by a CMO to approach the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to set us a tribunal by which it will review such tariffs? What steps has BON taken in this direction if truly the issue is with COSON’s tariffs to its members?
BON has also gone ahead to call for the liberalization of the collective management system in Nigeria. Is BON suffering from collective amnesia? Is it not the same BON that not too long ago, in the days of MCSN and PMRS, vehemently refused to pay royalties for music because according to BON, the music industry should come together and have ONE collecting society that members of BON can deal with? Now that the government has graciously heeded to their cries and licensed just one CMO for musical works and sound recordings, they have done a summersault and suddenly want more than one!
In its radio announcement, BON describes itself as the umbrella association that represents and aggregates the collective interest of ALL radio and television stations operating in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. By their reasoning, it is all right for radio and television stations to have ONE organization to ‘represent and aggregate’ their collective interest but it is unacceptable for the music industry to have one organization to represent and aggregate the collective interest of the industry.
Behind the scene, we know who is composing the terrible jagajaga music that the leadership of BON is singing. Is it not funny that BON has become the megaphone of the unapproved MCSN completely rejected by the Nigerian Music Industry? Suddenly, the leadership of BON eats and drinks with MCSN. They want to smuggle in MCSN through the back door and use it to divide and conquer the Nigerian music industry. This is the same MCSN whose leaders are facing different criminal trials in Nigerian courts prosecuted by agencies of the Federal Government – the same MCSN that terrorized broadcasting organizations like NTA and TVC and tried to use under hand tactics to shut them down? Who interest exactly is the leadership of BON really representing?
The leadership of BON needs to understand that the music industry has changed remarkably and that the games which were used to manipulate the industry in the past will no longer work. If they want progress for all in a Nigeria that belongs to all, they should learn to treat the music industry with respect.
Do we need to remind BON that under the Nigerian Broadcast Code, the premise on which their broadcast licenses exist, every station is required to play at least 80% of Nigerian music? What does BON want to replace Nigerian music with? Generator sounds or foreign music? Before they think of foreign music, BON should be aware that COSON has entered into several reciprocal agreements with foreign collecting societies and represents foreign music right here in Nigeria. Whichever way BON goes, it will still fall back to COSON.
The BON leadership has utterly let its members down and is making Nigeria a laughing stock around the world. The statement issued by BON is ill advised and every member of BON should be utterly ashamed of being associated with such a childish statement, containing a threat that BON does not have even a muscle thread to execute.
BON has stated that it will advise its members on when to commence the pull out of Nigerian music from the airwaves that cater for Nigerian consumers. The Music Label Owners & Recording Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN) says: Do not delay any longer BON. We dare you to execute this limp threat of yours. We are waiting!!!