Information Minister Asks Broadcast Stations Across Nigeria To Respect Copyright Agreement With COSON
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, has called on all broadcasting stations operating in Nigeria to honour the copyright royalty agreement they entered into with Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) through the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) and Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) in 2014.
The Minister made the call at the Headquarters of his ministry in Abuja on Thursday, November 24, 2016 when he met with a high-powered delegation of COSON led by the Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji. The minister reiterated the need for a national change in perception saying that the creative industries in Nigeria have the potentials to form the bedrock of a new Nigerian economy.
Present at the meeting were all the heads of the Federal Government owned broadcasting agencies including the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam Ishaq Modibbo Kawu; the Director-General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Mr. Yakubu Mohammed and the Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Dr. Mansur Liman. All Senior Assistants of the minister were also present at the meeting.
Addressing the minister, a very passionate Chief Okoroji said that his delegation was not in Abuja for photo opportunities with government officials but to seriously engage the government in order that the significant potentials of Nigeria’s creative industries are released for better job opportunities, investments and growth in the Nigerian economy at a time when the nation faces serious challenges.
The COSON Chairman made several specific requests which he said are easily actionable and should produce quick and quantifiable results for the nation. The requests include the following:
- The Federal Government should ensure the full implementation of the Private Copy Levy scheme without any further delay.
- The Federal Government should make it very clear to all telecommunications companies operating in Nigeria that henceforth, there will be zero tolerance for the infringement of the Intellectual Property rights of Nigerian citizens whose works are deployed by these companies.
- All Federal and State owned broadcasting stations and other government institutions must respect the intellectual property rights of citizens as there is no provision under the law that exempts them from the infringement of copyright with respect to the content broadcast or deployed by them.
- The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) should be requested as a matter of urgency to take necessary steps to begin the take down of the several pirate websites bastardizing and frittering away Nigerian Intellectual Property on the Internet.
- The Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ought to be requested to act swiftly to ensure that the brazen and massive piracy of Nigerian music, movies and literature across our continent is no longer tolerated.
- The Nigerian Copyright Commission should be given new vigour and empowered to pivot towards the effective implementation of anti-piracy measures in the digital environment as the nature of piracy has changed.
- The National Assembly should be made to act with dispatch to ensure the promulgation into law of the new Copyright Bill which contains several provisions dealing with emerging issues and the infringement of copyright in the digital era.
- Necessary action should be taken to get the National Endowment Fund for the Arts up and running so that there are resources to take care of funding for creative projects and the welfare of creative people who have fallen into hard times.
It was agreed at the meeting that a working group comprising officials of the ministry, COSON and other agencies of government would be set up without delay to address the issues raised at the meeting.
The COSON delegation to the Minister included Afro juju star, Sir Shina Peters; Rub-a-dub maestro, Ras Kimono; Gospel music star, Kenny Saint Best and Queen of love, Azeezat Allen.
Also in the delegation were COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji and COSON Public Affairs Consultant, Mrs. Lucy Ajayi.