Owners of hotels, night clubs, restaurants and event venues in Imo State have to brace up for a possible confrontation with Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s sole Federal Government approved copyright collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings. This is because COSON has commenced the full enforcement of the war against music copyright defaulters in Imo State as it spreads its nationwide battle titled ‘Operation No Hiding Place”.
A COSON delegation led by the Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji was in Imo State for several days from February 20 to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the battle and no one who deploys music in a commercial or public space in Imo State escapes ‘Operation No Hiding Place’
Speaking at a meeting with the Hoteliers Association of Nigeria, Imo State, at Lobic Meridian Hotel Owerri on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, Chief Okoroji described COSON as a very professional and socially responsible organization which believes strongly in dealing with issues first through dialogue. He said that it was in that light that the delegation came to Imo State to engage the hotel owners and other key institutions with interest in music copyright. He appealed to the hotel owners to respect the intellectual property rights of citizens by obtaining the appropriate copyright licence before deploying music in their operations. Chief Okoroji also said that it is far cheaper to obtain a COSON copyright licence than to be entangled in a very expensive copyright infringement law suit which COSON is sure to bring against any defaulting hotel. Emphasizing the point, Chief Okoroji informed the hoteliers that immediately after addressing them, he would be on his way to Lagos so as to be at the Federal High Court the next morning for the trial in a N500 million copyright infringement law suit filed by COSON against a Lagos based hotel, Lagos Oriental Hotel.
Continuing, the former President of PMAN said, “COSON has spent substantial funds to organize a major stakeholders’ forum in Owerri during which we engaged music users in the state on the need to comply with the Copyright Act. We have also been engaged in a substantial public enlightenment campaign in the state. We believe that we have gone a long way to make sure that everyone understands his responsibility. We want to have a cordial relationship with the hotel owners in the state and we expect the association to inform its members of their duty to respect their copyright obligations. In the new digital world, respect for intellectual property rights is central to the growth of any economy”.
In response, the Chairman of the Hotelliers Association, Chief Ishmael Nweke thanked Chief Okoroji whom he described as a proud son of Imo State. He commended COSON for the visit and assured the delegation that the issues raised would be thoroughly discussed and the details streamlined with the COSON Consultant in the state.
It will be recalled that in 2016, COSON hosted a major stakeholders meeting at Rockview Hotel, Owerri to which different music user groups were invited. The meeting was also attended by the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and several of his commissioners.
During the recent Imo storm, the delegation visited several broadcasting stations in the state such as Heartland FM, Hot FM, My Radio FM, etc. The Delegation also met with the Police Area Commander for Owerri, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Francis Atim Bissong.
On the COSON delegation was the General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji, Hon John Ewelukwa Udegbunam, a COSON Director and Sir Edwin Akwaeze, COSON Consultant in Imo State.