Members of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON)on Thursday approved the distribution of a record N200 million naira in copyright royalties to members and affiliates as proposed by the Board of the society which collects royalties for the use musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria.
The unanimous approval of the proposed distribution took place at the Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) of COSON held at Niteshift Coliseum, Opebi, Ikeja.
In an outstanding display of coordinated technological efficiency, immediately after the approval, several members of COSON at the venue confirmed that shortly after the approval, they received alerts from their banks confirming that their royalties had just been paid.
For the Extra Ordinary General Meeting, the gaily dressed musicians, young and old from across the country thronged Niteshift Coliseum in a celebratory mood. There was so much singing and dancing as several musicians performed at the event, turning the general meeting into a carnival.
In his address which was punctuated by intermittent applause, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji thanked the members for their continuous support of the society since its inception. Said Okoroji
“Despite what is a very hostile environment under which your society has had to operate and an economy hit by severe recession and despite the acquisition of the multi-million Naira ‘COSON House’ which is fully paid for, your Board is today putting before you a scheme for the distribution of a record sum of N200,000,000.00 (Two Hundred Million Naira), a 42.86% increase on the sum of N140,000,000.00 (One Hundred & Forty Million Naira) which you approved for distribution last year”. The information was received with huge applause and unprecedented celebration.
Reporting on the acquisition of the new COSON property, Chief Okoroji said, “I am pleased to announce to you today that in keeping with your mandate, your society has acquired and fully paid for a big multi-million Naira property at No 41 Oluwaleyemu Street, off Allen Avenue, Ikeja.
When fully renovated, the property to be known as “COSON HOUSE” will have state of the art facilities for the operation of any modern organization and provide sufficient accommodation for our growing work force.
It is our hope that by time the next AGM takes place, we would have moved from Omodara Street to COSON HOUSE”.
Commenting further, the Chairman said, “I want to congratulate every member of COSON for this historic achievement not made by any organization in the creative industry before now. Let me remind you that none of us can truly say anymore that he or she is not a landlord because we are all owners of COSON HOUSE”
Chief Okoroji reported on many initiatives undertaken by his Board to increase the fortunes of the creative industry in Nigeria and boost the Nigerian economy.
On the private copy levy scheme, he said that with the firm promises made to a recent COSON delegation by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and the visible steps he has taken since the meeting, he is satisfied that finally, the activation of the private copy levy scheme is receiving appropriate attention.
On the dispute with the telecommunication companies, Okoroji said “While we have sought judicial intervention in specific cases, we also went to Abuja to seek administrative intervention at the highest level to ensure that going forward, all contributors to the pie get their appropriate share of the pie and that the interaction between the telecommunication industry and the creative industry positively affects the Nigeria economy.
In Abuja, we received unequivocal assurance from the Honourable Minister of Communications that he will personally address the issues with dispatch”.
Speaking on the royalty agreement with the broadcast industry, the COSON Chair said, “Whilst we cannot undervalue the importance of our agreement with the broadcast industry. I wish to report that from the COSON/BON/IBAN/NBC/NCC Agreement, the broadcast industry owes COSON a significant amount of money, money which should be available for distribution to our members and affiliates.
“This is one of the issues our delegation took to Abuja last month. You must have heard that the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, has forcefully called on all broadcasting stations operating in Nigeria to honour the copyright royalty agreement they entered with COSON in 2014”.
Concluding, the celebrated former President of PMAN said, “This same COSON which was given no chance six years ago, today has reciprocal representation agreements with other CMOs covering about 140 countries and territories in every continent ensuring that Nigerian music is protected around the world.
“As you well know, COSON has collected and distributed several hundreds of millions of naira to right owners across Nigeria. You can bear witness to the fact that without stories and without excuses, COSON has paid royalties every year since inception.
“Fellow members of COSON, it is not yet El Dorado and there is still a lot of work to do but I say to you, when someone says to you, ‘nothing works in Nigeria’ please shake your head and say to the person, ‘COSON is working!’’’.