Stakeholders urge telecos, others to halt payments to COSON

  • asked to await resolution of crisis

By Chioma Obinagwam

Key stakeholders in the music business have written a petition to users and CMOs within and outside Nigeria to freeze payment of licensing fees to the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) pending the resolution of the crisis rocking the society.

The President of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) disclosed in a statement on Wednesday.

Okafor said that signatories to the landmark petition include Falz, Mavin Records (Tiwa Savage, Johnny Drille, Korede Bello, DNA etc), Sound Sultan (Naija Ninja), Hypertek (2Baba, Dammy Krane etc), Square Records (P Square), Northside (Cynthia Morgan, May D), Skales, Sunny Neji (Impakt Records and Ruggedman.

Others, he noted, include E.M.E (Banky W, Wizkid, Niyola, Shaydee), Maga Music (Kelly Hansome), Premier Music, Ivory Music, Black Diamond (Wande Coal), Alapomeji (9ice), Gospel Choral, Agboola Sikiru Ayinde, Vector (G.R.A.P), G & A, Doc Da Mic, Grafton (M Trill, Mr. 2Kay, Indispensables, etc), The BAIL (Brymo), Maleke, Cabal (Omawumi), 960 Music and Chocolate City (MI, Jesse Jagz, Femi Kuti, Nosa, Blaq Bones, Ice Prince, Ruby Gyang, Dice Ailes, DJ Lambo, Koker, etc) are the complete list of content owners who insist monies due to them should not be paid to COSON until the issues are resolved.

The PMAN President noted that the crisis came on the heels of the December 19, 2017 purported reinstatement of the sacked chairman of the management board of COSON, Tony Okoroji, due to a number of alleged financial and administrative infractions.

He added that the society has since been embroiled in damaging controversy, a litany of lawsuits, suspension of its operating licence by the Nigeria Copyright Commission and the freezing of its accounts.

“There is also the issue of criminal prosecution of Okoroji and key staff members by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and other issues which have seriously eroded public trust and hurt the gradually growing culture of respect for IP and business of collective management of copyright in Nigeria,” Okafor stated.

Nevertheless, the appointment of a new Director General (DG) at the NCC and the expiration of the suspended COSON license, the PMAN president said, triggered some form of confidence among stakeholders.

” Some of the stakeholders believe there’s a window of opportunity for a resolution and have written to the NCC to demand a forensic audit of the account and operations of COSON under Okoroji’s tenure without further delay,” Mr. Okafor stated.

He added that the rights owners are committed to working with the regulator and other well-meaning stakeholders to establish efficiency, corporate governance and transparency in royalty distribution and reporting.

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