Musical Copyright Society Nigeria Ltd/Gte (MCSN) has cleared the air on the issue of its legal status.
In a statement signed by Orits Williki, its chairman, the MCSN refuted what it called “fabrications and untruths” contained in a statement and publication made by one James Ononiwu, who claims to be a lawyer to the defunct Copyright Society of Nigeria(COSON) in some online media.
In making the clarification, the MCSN said that “it is only the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) under the Copyright Act 2004 or the Copyright (Collective Management Organisations) Regulation 2007 that can declare or state whether or not the licence or approval granted to MCSN or any other organisation so licenced by the Commission, had expired.
“Since such decision or information has not been communicated to MCSN by the NCC, COSON or its counsel cannot pronounce on the status of MCSN’s licence/approval. MCSN therefore maintains and insists that its licence or approval as a collective management organisation/collecting society remains intact and valid.
According to the MCSN “in the face of the law and various subsisting judgments, COSON remains an illegitimate entity.
“Its illegality can only be reversed with a decision of court of competent jurisdiction and we believe that users of musical works and sound recordings would not be a party to any illegality that would bring them and their officials into confrontation with the law.”
Going forward, MCSN asserted that “COSON can only exist and operate at the mercy of the NCC and this mercy is no longer available to COSON more so that it has no past and current juristic existence based on subsisting court judgment.
“For long, the founders and owners of COSON have been feeding fat on the conflicts which they instigated and sustained between NCC and the MCSN; it is their agenda that such conflicts continue so that they would continue to exploit such for their narrow benefits.
“The leadership of MCSN and NCC have seen through the scheme and are now better informed, by the various decisions coming from the courts, that a harmonious relationship between the Government Agency (NCC) and MCSN based on judicial authorities, particularly the Supreme Court of Nigeria, is the panacea for the delivery of creative dividends and prosperity for Nigerian musicians be they authors, composers, publishers, performers or producers of music and sound recordings.”
In conclusion, the MCSN stated, “MCSN therefore wishes to inform the general public, particularly users of musical works and sound recording that anyone still going about parading COSON as a CMO or collecting society with the intent of collecting royalties in whatsoever form or guise should be treated as a fraud and immediately report such to relevant government authorities, particularly the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Nigeria Police.”