Admin l Tuesday, March 19, 2019
IKEJA, Lagos, Nigeria – Key stakeholders in the music business have petitioned users and collective management organisations within and outside Nigeria to freeze payment of licensing fees to the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) pending resolution of the crisis rocking the society.
Signatories to the landmark petition include Falz, Mavin Records (Tiwa Savage, Johnny Drille, Korede Bello, DNA etc), Sound Sultan (Naija Ninja), Hypertek (2Baba, Dammy Krane etc), Square Records (P Square), Northside (Cynthia Morgan, May D), Skales, Sunny Neji (Impakt Records and Ruggeman.
Others are E.M.E (Banky W, Wizkid, Niyola, Shaydee), Maga Music (Kelly Hansome), Premier Music, Ivory Music, Black Diamond (Wande Coal), Alapomeji (9ice), Gospel Choral, Agboola Sikiru Ayinde, Vector (G.R.A.P), G & A, Doc Da Mic, Grafton (M Trill, Mr. 2Kay, Indispensables, etc), The BAIL (Brymo), Maleke, Cabal (Omawumi), 960 Music and Chocolate City (MI, Jesse Jagz, Femi Kuti, Nosa, Blaq Bones, Ice Prince, Ruby Gyang, Dice Ailes, DJ Lambo, Koker, etc) complete the list of content owners who insist monies due to them should not be paid to COSON until the issues are resolved.
Following the December 19, 2017 purported reinstatement of the sacked chairman of the management board of COSON, Tony Okoroji, due to a number of alleged financial and administrative infractions, the society has since been embroiled in damaging controversy, a litany of lawsuits, suspension of its operating licence by the Nigeria Copyright Commission and the freezing of its accounts, the stakeholders said.
According to them, there is also the issue of criminal prosecution of Okoroji and key staff members by the NCC and other issues which they alleged have seriously eroded public trust and hurt the gradually growing culture of respect for IP and business of collective management of copyright in Nigeria.
“Following the appointment of a new Director General at the NCC and the expiration of the suspended COSON license, some of the stakeholders believe there’s a window of opportunity for a resolution and have written to the NCC to demand a forensic audit of the account and operations of COSON under Okoroji’s tenure without further delay.
“The rights owners are committed to working with the regulator and other well-meaning stakeholders to establish efficiency, corporate governance and transparency in royalty distribution and reporting”, they said in a statement signed by. Michael U. Stephens (p.k.a Ruggedman) for the stakeholders.