It was a rare moment last Thursday when top personalities in the broadcast media, hotel and hospitality industry, creative sectors as well as lawyers involved in intellectual property matters gathered in Lagos, South West, Nigeria at Eko Hotel to talk serious business.
It was an occasion put together by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in collaboration with the Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) and Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG), the nation’s copyright collective management organisations for audiovisual works; musical works and literary works for the key stakeholders to successfully meet with their peers in the media, broadcast, hotel and entertainment industries.
The Director General of the NCC, Dr. John Asein, whilst welcoming stakeholders said, “the creative sector is the next oil well for the country and may in fact be the only oil well that will never be exhausted in the nearest future, as long as humans remain on earth. For that reason, Nigeria must design its own model to fit our peculiarities in the creative sector.”
The DG further stated that, “There is need to open up the other streams of income for the creators; and the need to maximise return on investment in the creative sector. To achieve these, the NCC will work more with the stakeholders and other relevant federal government agencies within the copyright space.”
Furthermore, he added, “NCC will serve everyone within the copyright system and we are believers of a balanced system.”
While calling on the CMOs to be more responsive to the needs of their members, stakeholders and the user community, Asein promised that the NCC would provide technical support for CMOs and stand by them in ensuring that rightholders get the remunerations that is due them. He assured that the Commission was empowered to arrest and deal with defaulters refusing to comply with the provisions of the Copyright Act.
Dr. Igomu Onoja, Secretary of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) representing its Director General, Mr. Balarabe Shehu Ilelah said, “the NBC would support the CMOs by ensuring that creative contents broadcast on radio and television stations are paid for. Whatever agreement is reached between the CMOs and the broadcasters, NBC working with NCC will ensure it is implemented for the good of all stakeholders concerned.
The Chairman, Audio Visual Rights Society (AVRS), Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun, whilst speaking at the meeting said, “this forum couldn’t have come at a better time, as it provides us the opportunity to meet and interact with the users of audiovisual works, as it concerns our operations and help provide clarifications with respect to our licensing methodology. I wish to appeal to all users here whether in the broadcast industry -satellite, terrestrial and online, the hotel/hospitality industry and transport industry to take advantage of this event to let out the steam as our key function is to serve as a bridge between copyright owners and right users regarding their licensing obligations for mutual benefits.”
While highlighting the inadequate remuneration challenges in the movie sector as evident in the plight of some of its notable players in the past and even presently, Mr. Ali-Balogun appealed to users to meet their licensing obligations as AVRS is the only opportunity for a vast majority of audio-visual creatives to be pensionable. He further said that AVRS would continue to push for better copyright remunerations for the creators and investors in the film industry.
Mr. Ali-Balogun further thanked the NCC, the Nigeria Police and the Hotel Owners & Managers Association of Lagos (HOMAL), particularly its President, Chief S. O. Alabi for their immense support towards the work of AVRS.
Addressing the forum, Chief Samuel Alabi of HOMAL said, “there is high level of ignorance of what intellectual property or copyright is in Nigeria. Therefore, there is need for high level enlightenment and education of owners and users of creative works.
He advocated for a copyright tariff panel where issues of rate disagreements can be quickly resolved without going through the long route of the court process.
In his remark, the Chairman of Musical Society Nigeria (MCSN), Mr. Oritz Wiliki, who described operating a CMO in Nigeria as daunting also called on the NCC to set up a mediation council that will help resolve copyright disputes quicker and less costly.
The event, moderated by Africa’s Intellectual Property specialist and music business entrepreneur, Dr. Chinedu Chukwuji, had in attendance CEOs of AVRS, Mrs. Olubukola Adeyemi; MCSN, Mr. Mayo Ayilaran and REPRONIG, Mr. Kayode Motunrayo respectively. Also present were President, Hotels Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA), Barr. Funmi Kazeem, AVRS Directores Prince Jide Kosoko, Chief Peddie Okao, Barr. Norbert Ajaegbu and Elder Tunji Ojetola; 2nd Vice President, PMAN – Mr. Sunny Neji, CEO of Kennis Music and Executive Member, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) – Mr. Kenny Ogungbe; CEO ROK TV – Mrs. Mary Njoku; Barr. Olumide Ekisola, Mr. Francis Onwochei, Mr. Victor Okhai, Mr. Alex Eyengbo and Mr. Kazie Uko, CEO, Reliable Source; plus, a host of other personalities in the media, broadcast, hotel, legal and entertainment industries.