COSON, Broadcasters Declare Truce

Fri, Jan 31, 2014
By publisher


The National Broadcasting Commission has brokered a truce in the crisis over the payment of royalty between Copyright Society of Nigeria and broadcasters

|  By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Feb. 10, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

THE royalty crisis between the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, and broadcasters under the aegis of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, and the Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria, IBAN, has come to an end. The warring parties have agreed to ceasefire and adopt a peaceful approach brokered by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC.

The NBC resolved that  the BON/IBAN should lift the ban on some musicians, while COSON suspends all court cases regarding the dispute pending a time that a committee would be set up to fashion out a payment formula that would be agreeable to all parties. Emeka Mba, director general, NBC, said the commission was concerned and dismayed at the hot dispute raging between broadcasters and rights owners over the payment of royalties for music and musical materials used by the broadcasters.

“In order to prevent the conflict from further destabilising the industry and return it to the path of harmony and growth, the commission has taken steps to settle the dispute, which included holding meetings with all parties in December 2013. At those meetings, the commission called for a truce with the understanding that BON and IBAN are to lift their ban on some musicians, and all court cases regarding the dispute should be suspended to allow for peaceful settlement,” he said.


Mba said the commission is in the process of forming a committee, which will be chaired by a respected industry player acceptable to all with the mandate to resolve the issues before the end of this quarter. He therefore, solicited the cooperation of all parties involved, COSON, BON and IBAN, in order to put the conflict behind and move on.

In response to this, COSON has instructed its legal team to seek 90 days suspension of all court actions against BON/IBAN members in line with NBC pronouncement. The right owners expressed readiness to cooperate with NBC and ensure peaceful resolution of the crisis that has lingered for more than three months. Tony Okoroji, chairman, COSON, praised the NBC efforts to resolve the crisis. “I am happy to announce that we are now in a position to bring to an end the dispute between COSON on the one hand and Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, BON, and independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria, IBAN, on the other. Any moment from now, I expect the NBC to announce a framework which if fully implemented will bring to an end the era of the ban of the broadcast of the music of Nigeria’s best artistes on our nation’s airwaves.

“The implementation of the framework should also make it unnecessary for COSON to continue to deploy multiple-litigation to compel broadcasting stations to pay appropriate copyright royalties for the musical works and sound recordings they broadcast.  There is no question that if we follow through with the process, we would have unchained the music industry in Nigeria and set it on a part of growth hitherto unknown. The broadcast industry should also benefit because it will operate in an atmosphere of stability and certainty,” he said.

Okoroji assured that COSON was ready to work conscientiously with the different partners in the broadcasting industry and the regulatory agencies to ensure that the framework was successfully implemented and that the nation benefits from the episode.

The leadership of BON has also promised to work with the new arrangement being facilitated by the NBC. Abubakar Jijiwa, chairman, BON, expressed optimism that controversy over payment of royalties would be resolved soon. He said well-meaning Nigerians have intervened and there is no reason why the conflict should be allowed fester in the view of willingness of all parties to seek an end to it in the interest of the industry. BON, he disclosed, is in the process of issuing a statement to that effect.