Chairman Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has brought the attention of the National Assembly to the need to make adequate provisions for royalty when budgeting for government owned broadcast stations to enable them meet up with their obligations to pay royalties for use of musical works.
Okorojo made the remarks while speaking at an occasion to mark World Music Day put together by Nigeria Music Industry Coalition. He said he will no longer accept a situation where government owned stations will continue with open stealing of intellectual property of creative people adding that that music remains a critical component of the broadcast industry.
“Today, we call on the National Assembly to ensure that forthwith, clear provisions are made in the budgets of all Federal government owned broadcast stations for the payment of copyright royalties. We refuse to accept a situation where the stations continue with the open stealing of the intellectual property of innocent creative people simply because there is no budget for the payment for the key raw material they deploy in their operations. Any scheme by which the stations are required to pay royalties from their meagre or non-existent ‘internally generated revenue’ is a joke and simply unacceptable to us”
He explained that government owned radio stations were set up for political reasons they nevertheless sustain their operations by freely using the intellectual property of innocent citizens who have invested in creativity with hard earned money.
“The Nigerian music industry cannot and shall not subsidize broadcasting in Nigeria. The capital requirements of the stations are budgeted, the salaries of the staff are budgeted but the royalties to those who create and invest in the music which sustains the stations are not budgeted. The royalties are the ‘salaries’ of those in the music industry whose works are broadcast. We refuse that this be left to the vagaries, whims and caprices of the so called Internally Generated Revenue. The reality is that most of the stations, in defiance of the law, do not pay any royalties or when they pay at all, what they pay is absolutely laughable. This appears to be state sanctioned robbery of creative people, a lot of them young Nigerians, who invest in the music industry in our nation. The National Assembly has a responsibility to bring this robbery to an immediate end and every state assembly must do likewise”, he said.