Following the huge success of the Lagos and Abuja phases of the Select Stakeholders Forum of Nigeria’s sole approved copyright collective management organisation for musical works and sound recordings, the COSON train arrives Onitsha on Wednesday, August 4, 2010.

The Onitsha event will be a first ever gathering of top artistes, songwriters, composers, music publishers etc in the region. The Onitsha forum will take place at Top Rank Hotel, Zik Avenue, Fegge. Also invited to the forum are key players in the broadcast, advertising and telecoms industries, telecoms value added sector, hotels, night clubs, banks, airlines, etc. operating in the South Eastern and South Central part of the country. Top government officials are expected at the big forum at which the Nigerian Copyright Commission, the regulatory agency for copyright in Nigeria will be represented at the topmost level.

At the Abuja select stakeholders forum, which held at Bolingo Hotel & Towers on Tuesday, July 20, 2010, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, who declared the forum open, said “The approval of Copyright Society of Nigeria (Ltd/Gte) (COSON) by the Nigerian Copyright Commission with my authority is part of our effort to support the creative community to earn more remuneration and strengthen the system of rights management. This is in line with the objectives of the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. This is also evidence of the determination of Nigeria to ensure that it respects the intellectual property of its citizens and that of creators from every country whose works are used in Nigeria.

The Minister further said, ”We are familiar with the checkered history of collective management of copyright in our music industry and the difficulty in instituting a model acceptable to everyone. The reality is that there is not one model that will satisfy all shades of opinion. I am satisfied that the reform process of collective administration for musical works and sound recordings instituted by the Nigerian Copyright Commission has been thorough. It must be stated that the sole collective management organisation model is not a Nigeria invention. This is a model practised in many countries because of the unique nature of the collective management of copyright. I therefore urge every well meaning stakeholder in the music industry to find a place of pride in the current system and make it work for the collective good of all.

In his own remarks, the Special Guest of Honour and Minister of Culture, Tourism & National Orientation expressed great happiness at the approval of COSON. The Minister observed that the COSON approval offers a great chance for his ministry to work closely with the creative industry for the greater good of the nation.

The Director General of the National Film & Video Censors Board, Mr. Emeka Mba said that he had looked forward to this development and that he was full of joy that the bulk of the Nigerian music industry has come together to resolve what has become a thorny issue. He called on his constituents in the movie industry to borrow a leaf from the music industry and come together to deal with the i mportant issues confronting the industry.

Among the many organisations represented at the Forum were the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), DAAR Communications Plc owners of AIT and Raypower FM, Cool FM, Hot FM, World Bank, UNESCO, ENABLE Nigeria, etc. The legislative arm of government was also represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Information & Communications.

Also present at the event were top artistes and key industry professionals like Sunny Neji, Kenny Saint Brown, Tar Ukoh, Sixfoot Plus, Xstranger, Mr. Audu Maikori, Chief Executive Officer, Chocolate City; Mr. Toju Ejueyitchie, Chairman Nigerian Association of Recording Industries (NARI); Hon John Ewelukwa Udegbunam, National President, Music Label Owners & Recordin g Industries Association of Nigeria (MORAN); ace music producer, Mr. Laolu Akins, etc.

Speaking on the forum, Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) said, I am overwhelmed by the success of the Abuja forum after the great forum we had in Lagos. We are systematically fighting ignorance in the area of copyright. This is a revolution in which right owners and users who had hitherto been at daggers drawn are now talking with each other and finding common ground. It is mind blowing!.

Speaking also on the forum, COSON’s acting General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji said, The forum was a huge success and I am highly elated that participants turned out in their numbers. It is a very strong indication that we are making progress and that stakeholders are willing to make neces sary sacrifice to make this process work. We are indeed looking forward to the Onitsha forum.”

Elizabeth Ike
Membership & Communications