NCC reads riot act to copyright infringers

THE Nigerian Copyright Commission has reiterated its commitment to the protection of intellectual property of creatives saying that no one would be allowed to exploit anyone’s right. The statement was made by the Director General, NCC, Dr. John Aisen at a selected stakeholder meeting in collaboration with Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), Musical Society of Nigeria (MCSN), and Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (Repronig).

Held at Eko hotels, Lagos, Aisen said the meeting was part of resolutions reached at a meeting convened by the AVRS in 2019 but was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic which exposed the underbelly of the industry.

He said: “There is a need for CMOs (Collective Management Organisations) to be more responsive. The creative sector creates wealth, and let them get returns for their work. You either pay or face the consequences. COVID-19 exposed the underbelly of the sector. It calls us to begin to rethink how the sector would survive. This industry is dependent on that stream that must not be allowed to get blocked. We must ensure we engage with the industry we are regulating. We will deepen our involvement in the copyright sector. We must provide technical support. We must walk the talk. We must be able to think ahead. The right owner is the beneficiary of the rights.

“The evolving of a new copyright bill which has passed its second reading at the House of Reps will put an end to this matter. We will be able to find appropriate responses to the low level of collectors in Nigeria. No one should be allowed to exploit another person’s right, you either pay or face the consequences. NCC will engage with the CMOs. DJs must have licenses. We will begin to arrest them if they don’t produce licenses to practice their trade. Copyright is the next oil well. We must find a balance. We can improve the general well-being of copyright owners as well as take into cognizance the challenges of users. We should synergise to bring solutions,” Aisen said.

For Chairman AVRS, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, whose sector is most affected, spoke about the role of the AVRS as a go-between between right owners and users.

The event, which was anchored by copyright expert, Chinedu Chukwuji had input from other stakeholders like Funmi Kazeem, Kenny Ogungbe, Emmanuel Abimbola, Olu Obafemi, and Barr. Ekisola Olumide; Mayo Ayilaran, Nobert Ajaegbu, Alex Enyengho, Victor Okhai, Sunny Neji, Jide Kosoko, Mary Njoku, Francis Onwochei among others.

<<The Nation>>