On Monday, December 14, 2015, Justice Justice of the Federal High Court in Benin City, Edo State, dismissed a suit filed against Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) by the Disc & Cassette Dealers Association of Nigeria.
In 2014, the association and some of its members dragged COSON to court seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the body and its agents from harassing, intimidating, arresting or otherwise interfering in any manner whatsoever with the Claimants’ right to play musical works for the sole purpose of their retail trade.
The Claimants also sought a perpetual injunction restraining COSON and its agents from demanding any levy from the claimant’s membership except as determined and gazetted by the minister.
The association urged the court to stop COSON and its agents from arresting and detaining their members for any alleged infringement of the Copyright Act.
In the suit, the Claimants went further to ask for an order requiring COSON to refund all the levies collected from the claimants’ members for playing musical works in their retail trade business. They also demanded the sum of 10 million naira as damages for the ‘harassment, arrest, disruption of business and detention of the Claimants and illegal collection of dues from them’
But Justice Liman held that COSON is empowered under the Copyright Act and the Copyright Collective Management Regulations to collect royalties on behalf of right owners for the use of music in business places or places of entertainment including retail shops.
The judge also held that the Nigerian Police, the 4th Defendants in the case, have the legal responsibility to arrest and prosecute Copyright violators in line with the provisions of the Copyright Act and other laws of the land and that private individuals can report any crime including copyright violations to the Police and can also arrest and handover to a police officer anyone committing a crime.