23rd May, 2014
In what has been described as a fresh beginning, the feuding Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, BON, and Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria, IBAN, sank their differences when they signed another historic music copyright royalty agreement.
The signing ceremony which took place on 21 May at Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, was attended by the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba; Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. Afam Ezekude; Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa, who is also Chairman of the 400-member Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, and several other top government officials.
The event was the climax of an intervention by Mr. Mac Emakpore, retired director with the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, who headed the joint committee set up to find solutions to the crisis. It also brought to an end the prolonged disagreement between the music and broadcast industries in Nigeria spanning over 30 years which culminated in a major crisis in the last quarter of 2013.
Chief Tony Okoroji, COSON Chairman, in his address said for many years, Nigeria had run away from addressing this problem, leaving many frustrated and driving important investment out of the country. He said the new agreement is therefore an important first step to end the many bad habits that have made the creative enterprise unprofitable in Nigeria.
Mba, NBC DG, who commended Okoroji for what he described as his doggedness and commitment to the respect of intellectual property rights in the Nigerian creative industry, said the historic event isn’t just about the Nigerian music industry but the creative industry at large.
“This is about the respect of intellectual property in Nigeria. Let us all see this as the beginning of better things to come for the Nigerian creative industry. This goes to tell other sectors that have been abusing creativity that their time is up,” NBC DG said.
Mr. Afam Ezekude, DG, NCC, also commended COSON and BON/IBAN for sheathing their swords and finally coming to the table to negotiate.
Mallam Jijiwa, BON Chairman said he was happy that after several months of heated negotiations, they are all together as witnesses to the historic day.
Kenny Ogungbe, popular broadcaster and Managing Director of Ray Power FM, who also represented IBAN at the ceremony, expressed satisfaction at the resolution of the crisis that had rocked the music and broadcast industries.
“I am personally happy for what has gone down today. Every organization in the broadcast industry will queue up behind the agreement we have signed here today. It is binding and we are proud that we have made history in Nigeria at 100,” Ogungbe said.
Present at the event were some of the big wigs in Nigeria’s broadcasting and music industry included Nigeria’s first female TV broadcaster, Ms. Julie Coker; H.A.B. Fasinro, owner of Smooth FM; Mr Larry Izamoje of Brilla FM; Mr. Deji Awokoya of Beat FM, Classic FM and Naija FM; Ms. Evita Mousalli of Cool FM, Wazobia FM and Naija Info FM; and Mr. Adetunji Majeed of NTA.