COSON to Buhari: Kick-start intellectual property revolution

Chief Tony Okoroji

Chief Tony Okoroji, COSON chairman

Funsho Arogundade

Chief Tony Okoroji, COSON chairman
Chief Tony Okoroji, COSON chairman

The Nigerian music industry has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to kick-start an intellectual property revolution in Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement issued by Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, on the ‘State of the Nigerian Music Industry’ on the occasion of the annual ‘No Music Day’.

‘No Music Day’ is an annual event held on every 1 September in Nigeria, to draw attention to the widespread infringement of the rights of song writers, composers, performers, music publishers, record labels and other stakeholders in the music industry in Nigeria.

“We, in the Nigerian music industry today call on President Muhammadu Buhari to spark an intellectual property revolution in Nigeria, without delay. It is our view that in a world which is rapidly being swept over by the digital economy and the digital revolution, the Nigerian nation will hugely regret it if it does not quickly tool itself with the full understanding of the concept of intellectual property and the economic necessity to defend intellectual property rights,” Okoroji stated.

The COSON boss pointed out the wrong approach by past governments on the total dependence on crude oil to generate revenue for the Nigerian economy.

He thus tasked the government of President Buhari to take proactive steps in boosting the Nigerian creative sector by enforcing the laws on intellectual property rights.

Okoroji noted that this is the first ‘No Music Day’ under the tenure of President Buhari, a period of important soul searching for the Nigerian nation.

He said the theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Music, the untapped alternative to crude oil’ encapsulates the society’s long sung message to several past governments of Nigeria.

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“It may have become clear to many that the days when oil ruled the world may have gone for good. We may indeed have seen the last of the era of the 100 dollars a barrel of crude oil. Our crude oil of the future may have to be drilled from the ingenuity of young Nigerians. That ingenuity can be seen in how wide our music, movies, literature, fashion, programming and similar products of the creative endeavour are in demand across the world.

“This is clearly an area in which Nigeria has significant comparative advantage. Unfortunately, both at home and abroad, these creative products are being stolen with impunity without our nation seeming to understand the impact on our economy,” he said.

Okoroji added that COSON wishes to underline the fact that the important investments required to actualise the hundreds of thousands of potential jobs which the Nigerian creative sector can generate and the billions of naira in revenue accruable to the nation will not take place except investors are guaranteed that their investments will be protected.

On the purpose for observing ‘No Music Day’, Okoroji said it became imperative to ask all Nigerians to spare a thought for a world without music.

“What kind of world would that be? Every year, in marking ‘No Music Day’, our objective has been to engage the Nigerian people and the various governments on the potential contributions of Nigerian music to the socio-economic development of the Nigerian nation and the necessity to fully deploy the substantial comparative advantage which our nation possesses in this area so as to provide hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs to the teeming masses of Nigerian youth who parade the streets of our country with little hope,” he stressed.

In commemoration of the day, broadcast stations were requested as has been the practice not to broadcast music between the hours of 8am-10am as a mark of solidarity with the nation’s creative industry which potentials have been limited by massive copyright infringement.

A substantial amount of broadcast time was dedicated to programmes which highlight the significant abuse of the rights of creative people in Nigeria.

Several broadcast stations showed massive support for the day and engaged listeners and intellectual property experts on the road map for a more vibrant creative sector in a nation where crude oil has failed the economy.

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