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The Copyright Society of Nigeria



The decision to set up COSON is a result of a broad based agreement between the owners of musical works, the users of the works and the statutory regulators on the need of the industry to close ranks and have one formidable national collective management organization to promote and protect the copyright of practitioners in the Nigerian music industry. COSON will also ensure that the rights of persons from other lands who have interest in music used in Nigeria are protected.

It was in the year 2000 that it was agreed between the existing collective management structures that those structures must be collapsed into COSON to bring to an end the schism and undue rivalry in the collective management of rights in the music industry. It was not until the formation of the Nigerian Music Industry Coalition in 2009, that it was decided that the time had come to take the bull by the horn. All known stakeholder groups in Nigeria were invited to the table to develop the architecture for collective management in Nigeria. At the end of several weeks of consultations and consensus building, it was resolved that:-

  • Urgent steps should be taken to bring about the formation of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) which had long been agreed to by major stakeholder organizations in the industry.
  • The emerging organization must be professional, transparent, accountable and fully democratic.
  • The new organization must be fully operational as soon as it is set up in order not to create a vacuum in copyright licensing.
  • In order to fast track the processes, existing structures of collective management and expertise already available in the industry should be utilized.

Following the above resolutions, all stakeholder groups were invited to contribute to the take off of COSON. COSON is a non-profit making organization governed by an Interim Management Board representing the different stakeholder groups. The Interim Management Board will serve the members for two years.

Membership of COSON is open to all owners of copyright or neighbouring rights in musical works or sound recordings. Upon take off, COSON acquired the membership of most of the celebrated icons of Nigeria’s evergreen sounds like Ebenezer Obey, Victor Uwaifo, Onyeka Onwenu, Dan Maraya Jos, Christy Essien Igbokwe, etc as well as the trail blazers of Nigeria’s music of the new millennium such as 2face,  Timaya, J. Martins, Eldee, Omowumi, Olu Maintain, 9ice, Rugged Man, Sound Sultan, DJ Stramborella, 2 Shotz and hundreds of others. COSON will also offer a big umbrella to thousands of copyright owners joining from the different groups that make up the Nigerian Music Industry Coalition. Foreign owners of copyright and neighbouring rights may also benefit from the protection offered by COSON through affiliation. There is no discrimination in COSON as all those entitled to membership are admitted at no cost whatsoever, whether they are young or old.

In addition to its members, COSON will serve its music-user licensees by offering them access to a most valuable cultural asset: the huge repertoire of copyright-protected music which is highly in demand in Africa’s most populous nation and beyond.

Under Nigerian law, owners of copyright in music and sound recordings have the right to request payment in order to authorize the public performance of their works. In reality, no single copyright owner can monitor the thousands of uses of his work in far flung places, neither is it practically possible for each person to negotiate each use and to collect appropriate payments.  By coming together in COSON under a collective management arrangement, the individual strengths are pulled together to achieve what the individual cannot achieve.

MEMBERS can rely on COSON for efficient, transparent and accountable collection and distribution of the royalties they have earned through the use of their music by broadcasting stations, advertising agencies, hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, etc. In order to provide the highest level of service, COSON is deploying the substantial experience of members of its board and the cutting edge training of its personnel along with modern technology.

COSON will remain in the Nigerian Music Coalition, the nation’s most potent advocacy group for the protection of the legal rights in Nigeria of composers, authors, publishers, performers and owners of copyright in sound recordings. This watchdog role is critical in an environment that is still very suspicious of the intellectual property concept.

BULK MUSIC USERS such as broadcasting stations, airlines, hotels, nightclubs, advertising agencies, etc must ensure that they have appropriate authorization for the music repertoire they deploy. Failure to do this can lead to very expensive disputes and costly legal contests. No bulk user can afford the massive machinery necessary to identify the legal owner of every piece of music required for its operation, neither can any user afford the cost of negotiating the use of each piece of music belonging to persons from diverse parts of the world.  COSON therefore provides music users access to one of the world’s most culturally valuable products:  a huge repertoire of copyright-protected music for public performance.

Music users will soon discover that COSON makes the process of obtaining the right licences straight forward and efficient, offering the opportunity for the works of music creators worldwide to have a positive impact on their businesses while sparing them expensive litigations and disputes.

A World Without Music
Imagine  a situation in which there is no music whatsoever on radio or television, no music in our night clubs, restaurants, or beer palours, no music in the gyms where we work out, no music in the aircraft as we sit through the many hours of long haul flights… Imagine that there is no music in every super market or shopping mall, no music in our offices as we work, none in the barbers shop or the hair dressers … what kind of world will that be?

COSON makes sure that we never have a world without music. By making it easy for those who need music to have access to it and ensuring that those who create the beautiful music we love to receive appropriate compensation for their ingenuity, COSON helps creativity to continue and the world is a better place. While we say, ‘Let the music play’, COSON also says, ‘Let the music pay!’