COSON, Startimes Resolve Legal Tussle

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Funsho Arogundade

At last, the big legal palaver between NTA-Star TV Network Ltd, owners of Startimes, the pay TV platform and Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, the nation’s sole collecting management organisation for musical works and sound recordings, has been brought to an end.

The resolution followed a recent meeting held in Abuja between the management of NTA–Star TV Network and the leadership of COSON.

The meeting which took place at NICON Luxury Hotel, Abuja was flagged off by the Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba.

At the meeting, the management of Startimes was informed that the broadcast industry in Nigeria has entered a period of zero tolerance of copyright infringement and the duty of every broadcast platform to pay for the rights in the music and sound recordings broadcast by it is no longer in argument.

The copyright fees payable by NTA-Star TV Network, the schedule of payment and legal fees recoverable by COSON were agreed and attested to. Subsequently, the parties agreed to withdraw their actions in court.

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Present at the meeting were the Executive Director of Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Olaleye; representatives of the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Mr. John Asein and Mr. Michael Akpan. Also present was Mrs. Bunmi Cole of the NBC.

COSON was represented by both the Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji and General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji, while Mr. Max Loko, Managing Director, NTA Enterprises and Mr. Justin Zhang, General Manager, Star Times represented NTA-Star TV Network. The discussions and negotiations were moderated by Mr. Mac Emakpore who was assisted by Alhaji Bola Agboola.

Speaking on the developments, Chukwuji said COSON is happy that the matter has been resolved and that the CMO is deepening the culture of respect for intellectual property rights in Nigeria.

“We will continue to effectively represent musicians and the music industry in Nigeria. This is a group of people whose rights have been trampled upon for too long in our country. We thank the leaderships of NBC, NCC and BON for their timely intervention and the professional way in which the Startimes issues were resolved,” COSON GM said.

In reaction to an action brought by the operators of Startimes, COSON had in October 2014 filed an application at the Federal High Court, Lagos requesting the court to issue an order of interlocutory injunction restraining NTA-Star TV Network Ltd, owners of Startimes, whether by themselves or their officials, privies, servants, agents or howsoever called from broadcasting, rebroadcasting or communicating to the public on any channel on its platform any musical work and/or sound recording belonging to COSON, its members or affiliates pending the determination of the issues in Suit No. FHC/CS/1149/14.