Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on Friday, January 10, 2014, in his office in Benin called on all government agencies and private institutions in Nigeria to henceforth obey the law and ensure that they pay copyright royalties for all the music they use in public. According to Governor Oshiomhole, ‘Nigeria must enforce its copyright law the way it is done in any other civilized part of the world. We are now in a democracy. Democracy is basically about enforcing laws. If you don’t enforce the law why should I be a governor here? It is the law that keeps me here’
R-L (Front Row): COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji; Mr. Banky W; Prof. (Sir) Victor Uwaifo; COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji; Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State Governor; Mr. Sunny Neji; Prince Biodun Egwakhide, COSON Consultant in Edo State; Chief Osayomore Joseph at the recent visit of the COSON delegation to the Edo State Governor to boost the society’s licensing drive in the state.
The Governor was speaking during a meeting with a delegation of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s sole government approved collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings. In the delegation led by COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji were the likes of music icon, Prof. (Sir) Victor Uwaifo, Mr. Sunny Neji, Banky W, Osayomore Joseph and numerous members of COSON in Edo State. Also in the delegation were COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji and COSON Coordinator in Edo/Delta States, Prince Biodun Egwakhide.
L-R: COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji; Mr. Sunny Neji; Prince Biodun Egwakhide, COSON Consultant in Edo State; The Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji; General Manager of Independent Television and Radio, Benin, Mr. Ogbeide Uwumwonse; Mr. Banky W at the visit of the COSON delegation to the Esama of Benin Kingdom recently to boost the society’s licensing drive in Edo state
According to Governor Oshiomhole, ‘If we are in a democracy then we must enforce laws as it affects intellectual property rights. On that I will like to join your campaign. In this state, we have a lot of TV stations both those owned by government and private individuals. We have a number of radio stations, FM stations that thrive on playing music 24/7. We have a lot of hotels, the Obituary industry is thriving; they play live sometimes they invite DJs, they copy your works, they make the money while your people are laboring for the next album. It is something I believe Nigeria should take on board.
What we need is to enforce the law the way the America government enforces laws on copyright, the way the British government and the European Union deal with those who violate copyright. We need to send people to prison. People think laws are advice, they are not advice. You don’t sermonize to people to desist from crime, you sanction. That is what the so called rule of law is all about - the ability to reward good behavior and also to sanction negative behavior including theft of intellectual property, calling it by its proper name’.
L-R: COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji presents a copy of his book, Copyright, Neigbouring Rights and the New Millionairesto Governor Adams Oshiomhole during the visit of the COSON delegation to the Edo State Governor recently to boost the society’s licensing drive in the state.
Addressing the governor, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji informed him that the delegation was in Benin to flag off a comprehensive licensing of users of musical works and sound recordings in Edo State in accordance with the laws of Nigeria. Chief Okoroji introduced Prince Biodun Egwakhide who is coordinating the licensing project on behalf of COSON in the state and also told the governor that if Nigeria must significantly increase its GDP and offer employment to its masses of employed, the nation must offer effective protection to the creative industries to which a lot of young people flock to naturally. He reminded the governor that copyright royalty is not a tax as the money does not go to government but to the creator of a work because a worker is entitled to his wages.
Promising full support for COSON, Governor Oshiomhole said, ‘If there is any role you want me to play, if there is any campaign you want me to join, I will join you because I believe that there are a lot of our young people whose only talent is music and if they are not protected, they would be poor even when they are supposed to be potential millionaires, even billionaires. With advancing technology, the challenge has even become much more. I think you need to harass all of us in government particularly federal government and also state governors to lend their voice to ensure that the copyright law is enforced so that our young people who are gifted in this area, who can make money from their own God given talent as well as entertain society and relax our nerves can do so.’
The governor went on to say, ‘with this political tension, the only way to bring down your blood pressure is sometimes to listen to cool music or even dance it out as I do sometimes. Be assured of the support of the Edo State government and you are assured of my own personal support. As for Edo Broadcasting Service, I will talk to them but this matter goes beyond EBS. It shows the extent to which private and even government owned stations, NTA, AIT, FRCN Channels, EBS, ITV, Silverbird, we are all violating and you must therefore initiate a method to deal with everybody that violates. We will direct EBS to do what is right in law but if they are doing it alone and there are no sanctions on those who are not doing it, we will not make much progress.
I am not going to be the last governor here, what will then happen is that after my tenure, things return to normal. We have to compel the Nigeria state to protect Intellectual property rights.The Attorney - General should protect Intellectual property rights in Nigeria and when it is violated including when they are violated in public functions, the state should protect its artistes, its creative people and that should be our central message .’
The COSON delegation also met with the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion who pledged that all organizations owned by him such ITV and independent Radio would comply immediately with the payment of music copyright royalties to COSON.