Members of the Board of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), from around the country, met in Lagos on Thursday, June 24, 2010 to approve strategies for a strong roll out of the activities of the organization which was recently approved by the Federal Government as the nation’s sole collective management organization for copyright in music and sound recordings. The meeting which held at the society’s Board room in Ikeja, took decisions on a wide range of issues dealing with personnel, training, capacity building, information dissemination, database and documentation, tariffs, licensing, distribution, international relations, etc.

At the meeting was a senior representative of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, the Federal Government agency responsible for copyright matters in the country.

The Board through the Commission reassured the nation of its firm resolve to make COSON one of Africa’s most respected CMOs within the shortest possible time, emphasizing that everything is being done to lay a solid foundation for a professional organization utilizing cutting edge technology to run an inclusive CMO that will at all times have as its core principles openness and accountability.

One of the major decisions taken at the meeting was the immediate setting up of an escrow account for all beneficiaries of royalties who have not regularized their information and status with the society or who cannot be immediately identified by the society. Consequently, the Board called on all stakeholders who have not concluded their membership formalities with COSON to do so immediately in order to have royalties due them paid as when due.

Approval was also given by the Board for the immediate employment of the personnel required for effective delivery of the mandate of COSON and the restructuring of the operations of the society in a most professional and efficient manner. The Board also approved a training scheme for all members of staff starting immediately. In collaboration with the Copyright Training Institute, an arm of the NCC, the first in the series of approved training programmes will commence in Lagos on July 7, 2010.

The Board also approved the holding of a COSON Stakeholders Forum in major locations across the country to create useful interaction between the society, owners of copyright in music and the users of musical works.

The first COSON Stakeholders Forum since the CMOs statutory approval holds on Thursday, July 1 at Protea Hotel, Ikeja GRA, Lagos. At the forum, Nigerian artistes, composers, performers, music publishers, label owners and other stakeholders in the music industry will engage the various major users of music in a big interactive session. Invitations have been extended to key players in the broadcast, advertising and telecoms industries, the telecoms value added sector, the CD replicating business, hotels, night clubs, banks airlines, etc.

The forum is expected to give organizations and individuals who will be players in Nigeria’s new collective management environment an opportunity to have serious discussions so as to contribute to shaping the new operational approach. It is anticipated that the COSON Select Stakeholders Forum will help in establishing the true relationships and rules of engagement between the different stakeholders as COSON gets ready to fully enforce performing and mechanical rights in musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria. A similar forum is planned for Abuja on July 21 and Onitsha on August 4.