COSON boss Okoroji reads riot act to copyright abusers

The Chairman of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Tony Okoroji, has said that there will be no hiding place for telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria who do not respect the intellectual property rights of creative people whose works these companies exploit for profit.

Speaking at the COSON Stakeholders’ Forum which took place in Ibadan on September 8, Okoroji said that henceforth, telcos will not be granted a copyright safe haven in Nigeria.

According to the former president of PMAN, in the digital age, the telecommunication companies have become first line players in the distribution of music. He insisted that it will be suicidal for the music industry not to insist that these companies play within the rules and in accordance with the law.

Okoroji said that since COSON decided to take to court the matter of the horrendous copyright infringement engaged in by some of the telecommunication companies, the companies have resorted to ‘cheap and unimpressive blackmail and divide and rule tactics’.

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“Some of the telcos have begun to issue press releases and launch insidious campaigns suggesting to our stakeholders that COSON is working against the interest of its members.

“They are carrying on a whispering campaign telling Nigerian musicians that by upholding their rights and exposing the massive injury being done to them, COSON is endangering their careers.

“They are even trying to give the impression that by appointing a few Nigerian artistes as their ‘brand ambassadors’, the music industry should kneel down and grovel to them when these companies go home with about 70% of the income from every piece of music they sell while the artistes, the record labels, the VAS companies fight over a mere 30% of the money.

“The composers and publishers who create the music do not even get one naira as these companies rob Peter to pay Paul,” he said.

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