As lawyers to Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s most successful organization in the creative industry, our attention has been drawn to the blatantly false information being circulated by mischief makers including the leadership of the Nigerian Copyright Commission that COSON is operating without a CMO approval. Nothing can be farther from the truth.
We wish to state emphatically that COSON’s operations are 100% in consonance with Nigerian law.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Federal High Court, Port-Harcourt, in Suit No FHC/PH/CS/116/2018, on September 19, 2018, made an order against the Nigerian Copyright Commission upon the application of several members of COSON led by the venerable Prof. (Sir) Victor Uwaifo. The order directs:
“maintenance of the status quo and suspension of all actions, proceedings and processes relating to the purported suspension of the licence of COSON and freezing of its bank accounts pending the hearing and the determination of the Motion on Notice already filed in this suit”. The said order of the Federal High Court subsists.
Before the above-mentioned order, the Federal High Court, Enugu in SUIT NO FHC/EN/CS/58/2018, also brought by members of COSON, on July 10, 2018, ordered Mr. Efe Omorogbe to stop parading himself as Chairman of COSON. The order continues to subsist.
There is no court order anywhere restraining COSON from carrying out its functions as a collective management organization. There is also no court order of any type restraining any COSON official from maintaining his or her position. The COSON Board is united. The membership continues to grow exponentially. The management remains solid. Anyone who visits the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja today will see a world class operation with very well trained personnel in a first rate environment.
The very misguided attempt by Mr. Afam Ezekude, the embattled DG of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, to foist those we consider as his cohorts on COSON in a desperate attempt to control this shining Nigerian organization built with the sweat of Nigerian musicians and managed with world class efficiency, has failed repeatedly and will continue to fail.
DG Ezekude is the same man who has for several weeks been reportedly locked out of his own office by his senior staff for allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of Naira belonging to the commission for which his staff have continually called for his arrest and prosecution. In our opinion, the game plan of the DG and his cohorts was to take control of COSON, milk it dry and turn it into another wasteland like the dirty, leaking and smelly NCC office at 16 Aloba Street, Ebute Metta, Lagos where rats and cockroaches fight day and night with the staff for attention.
We hereby stress that every public or commercial user of musical works or sound recordings in the COSON repertoire MUST obtain a COSON licence before such use. We wish to remind such users that musical works and sound recordings are intellectual property owned by citizens and not the property of the NCC. There is no circumstance in which the NCC has power to authorize anyone to use such property for free. We wish to assure everyone who is tempted to ignore this warning that there will be consequences.
Finally, we wish to state that the purported charge by the NCC against COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji and other staff of COSON for obeying the law and vigorously representing the interest of musicians in Nigeria, is a witch hunt gone crazy.
We wish to emphatically inform the general public that our clients have not committed any crime of any kind for which they have to face any charge and that we will seek appropriate legal redress on behalf of our clients for the brazen attempt to soil their names.