The Copyrights Society of Nigeria (COSON), has been harassing the Broadcasting Society of Nigeria (BON) and the Independent Broadcasting Society of Nigeria, IBAN, insisting that they pay royalties for playing the songs of Nigerian artists. COSON has dragged several radio and TV stations to court, demanding millions, sometimes billions of Naira in royalty.
Well, it seems IBAN and BON have had enough. Two days ago, they announced the ban of all Nigerian artists registered with COSON. Meaning that they ordered the immediate stop to the airing of songs of artists who are COSON members.
In a statement released and signed jointly by the President and Secretary of IBAN, Sonny Adun and Guy Murray Bruce, the need for such a drastic step was due to “the antagonism and harassment under the leadership of Tony Okoroji (COSON Chairman)”.
The statement in part reads “No person or organisation, particularly a collection society such as COSON has a monopoly of authority over any other.. IBAN and BON have the utmost respect for Nigerian artistes in their individual and collective capacities and have indeed contributed more than any known institution to the promotion of Nigerian music and the development of the entertainment industry as a whole.”
They are accusing COSON of arbitrarily imposing and concocting fees which are not based on any agreeable and verifiable tariff and standards.
However Mr Okoroji while reacting to the decision of the broadcasting bodies says the issue here is the strict stand COSON has on the royalties of artist works used on any of the broadcast stations. He says some stations have this attitude of “we can handle COSON” and goes on airing the works of the artist without paying them their due royalty which COSON is strongly against.
Meanwhile the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria interim president has released a statement on the ban on airplay of Nigerian artists by BON.
The statement below..
PMAN Speaks on the current ban of airplay of Nigerian artists by BON & IBAN
The Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria is appalled by the recent development spearheaded by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and Independent Broadcasters’ Association of Nigeria (IBAN) via an official press release yesterday, calling for the immediate airplay ban on all media platforms on content from Nigerian artistes, the association which was created with the sole mission to PROTECT, PRESERVE, and PROMOTE Nigerian musicians has decided to react on the ban and ongoing feud between the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria(BON), Independent Broadcasters’ Association of Nigeria (IBAN) and Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) calling for an immediate reversal of the ban in the interest of these artists whom we know that all the above mentioned organisations have their best interests at heart.
The ban on airplay of these Nigerian artistes and their music on various Nigerian media platforms is from our standpoint very unfair, demeaning and discouraging. We all know without a doubt that these same artistes who have persevered and assisted us to build, today what is known as the Nigerian music industry, Africa’s biggest entertainment export to the world are the same people that are now being victimised. With this action, the association foresees a situation where this ban will, rather than encourage well meaning members of the society, with musical talent to hone their craft and join the success story of the entertainment industry, reverse will be the case. We also foresee a situation where the bulk of the material that will be circulated on nigerian airwaves will be foreign materials, celebrating alien artistes instead of embracing, home grown talent and our cultural heritage.
COSON in it’s own right by a mandate given to the organisation acts as a collecting society for these artistes, helping to monitor and collect royalties entitled to them. As a collecting society, they have since inception acted as a shield to these artistes protecting their intellectual rights. BON & IBAN are arguing that the tariffs and standards presented to them by COSON should be defended and agreeable with them, but we know that the ban is not the best invitation to the negotiating table.
Article 220.127.116.11 of the Broadcast code issued by NBC says: ‘For the purpose of free-to-air broadcast, Nigerian music shall constitute 80 per cent of all music broadcast’. If this ban is sustained, and 80% of the music played on the various media platforms are foreign material, we should ask ourselves as guardians of the music industry, if these media houses are paying the royalties owed to these foreign artistes, and thereby sidelining Nigerian music by Nigerian artistes, are we supporting them or failing them? We should also ask ourselves, if this ban which will invariably affect the rising profile of the Nigerian music industry in the world, economically and in relevance is good for us.
With these ongoing conflicts, lets not forget the owners of this intellectual properties, the music owners, record label owners, recording artistes, the instrumentalists, composers, who have spent time and money producing and packaging, what we know, enjoy and call music, their interests should be significant in these agreements.
In light of all that has been mentioned above we ask again that the ban be reversed and that all the affected parties and major stakeholders in the entertainment industry sit down for a dialogue and reach a favourable agreement, beneficial to everyone involved.
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