The Akwa Ibom State Government has pledged that it will take necessary actions to ensure that there is full compliance with the copyright law by all the institutions of the state and all organizations operating in the state.
Speaking at the COSON Select Stakeholders’ Forum which held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on March 14, the Deputy Governor, Chief Moses Ekpo, said, “while the battle for the respect of the copyright of citizens is not over, we have been able to get a good part of the battle fought and Nigerians including those who create intellectual property are beginning to realize that the only real property owned by anyone is that created by that person because every other thing is bought. That is why the copyright law of this country which aligns with the international intellectual property treaties of the entire world, states categorically that the creator of any work is entitled to reap full benefits of what he creates’’.
The Deputy Governor who was the first Director-General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, expressed his support and that of the Akwa Ibom State Government for the activities of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s wave making copyright collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings, calling on all persons and organizations who deploy music in their businesses in the state to ensure that they respect the law and obtain appropriate copyright licenses from COSON.
The Deputy Governor commended COSON for the tremendous strides it has made in the collection and distribution of copyright royalties to owners of rights in musical works and sound recordings throughout Nigeria.
Speaking at the forum, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, insisted that for the Nigerian economy to rebound in a sustained manner, there needs to be a fundamental change in the nation’s mindset so that it is recognized at all levels of policy making that the economy of brick and mortar is gone and the knowledge economy has taken over. According to him, respect for intellectual property rights is critical for the knowledge economy to thrive and everyone has a significant role to play in ensuring that the respect for the rights of creative and innovative people becomes part of Nigeria’s culture so as to release the latent energy of thousands of creative and innovative Nigerians. Chief Okoroji gave a comprehensive account of the tremendous progress made by COSON since inception. In conclusion, the COSON Chairman said, ’if anyone told you that nothing works in Nigeria, look at the person boldly in the face, shake your head and say to the person, “COSON is working!”’
There were boisterous discussions at the forum. The participants were requested to use the opportunity to ask any question they wished on the operations of COSON because COSON is open, transparent and 100% accountable. When Chief Okoroji asked if there were any persons at the forum who were receiving royalties from COSON, many hands went up. With respect to the few stakeholders who said that they had issues with the receipt of their royalties, Chief Okoroji requested that instant contact be made with COSON Headquarters in Lagos with respect to each case and all the issues be resolved before the end of the forum. At the end of the day, the issues were all resolved.
Participants at the forum unanimously paid tribute to COSON and its leadership for making possible what not long ago was thought to be impossible in Nigeria. It was agreed by all that at the end of the forum, the entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State would have received significant motivation.
Participants at the forum were later treated to dinner by the Akwa Ibom State Government.