21st September, 2012
The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has raided the office of Musical Copyright Society Of Nigeria (MCSN) on Olaribiro Street, Allen-Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
The operation was carried out following information that the MCSN was performing the duties of a collecting society without the approval of the NCC.
Five senior officers of MCSN were arrested during the raid. They are Halim Mohammed, Banjo Omolara Baliqis, Yusuf Adoji, Olakayode Ajayi and Njoku Gladys.
The General Manager, Licensing, MCSN, Mr. Louis Udoh, escaped from lawful custody while the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mayo Ayilaran, is still at large.
Some documents and computers, which were allegedly used to carry out the illegal activities, were seized during the raid.
The commission had earlier conducted a preliminary investigation on the activities of MCSN to determine whether they were carrying out the functions of a collecting society.
The preliminary investigation showed that they were illegally granting licence for usage of musical and film works as well as collecting royalties from people they granted licence to use these works and were purportedly distributing royalties to those they chose.
Mr Nseabasi Ukagwu of the Public Affairs Department, NCC, said: “the Court of Appeal in suit No. CA/L/787/2008 Compact Disc Technologies Ltd & 2 Ors Vs Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Gte/Ltd delivered on 17 March 2010 held that for any organisation to operate as a collecting society it must be approved by the NCC.”
According to the NCC’s Director of Enforcement, Mr. Augustine Amodu, the MCSN had in the past applied to NCC for approval to operate as a collecting society. But application after due process was not granted by the NCC, which is the sole government agency mandated to grant such approval.
He reiterated that the only collecting society approved for music and sound recording by the NCC is the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).
However, MCSN continued to operate as a collecting society in contravention of the copyright law and the NCC’s Director of Enforcement has emphasised the commission’s resolve to continue to enforce the copyright law and to ensure that all operators in the copyright industry comply with the law and regulations.
He disclosed that investigation on the activities of the MCSN is on-going and those arrested during the raid will soon be arraigned before a Federal High Court.