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CMO For Movies Commences Licensing Activities


Ali-Balogun (middle) at a recent stakeholders’ meeting

Ali-Balogun (middle) at a recent stakeholders’ meeting

THE days of exploiting audio-visual content for free seem over as the Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), Nigeria’s sole collective management organization (CMO) for cinematography, has commenced licensing activities in line with its core mandate by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

Chairman of AVRS Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun disclosed that the collective rights body has initiated high level talks with leaderships of broadcasting organizations and the hospitality sector, particularly hotels and similar establishments ahead of the licensing activities, which he says ‘takes immediate effect’. The other establishments that will be licensed, according to Ali-Balogun, include advertising agencies, telecommunication and transport companies, airlines and relevant airport facilities, fast food confectioneries, hospitals and banks across the country.

The AVRS chairman noted that the society has, in the last year of its existence, been sensitising stakeholders on their roles, responsibilities and what is expected of them during the licensing and rights collection regime.

According to him, “We ought to have hit the ground running as soon as we were licensed but we, at the level of the board, felt that collective management as it concerns audio-visual is relatively new in this part of the globe so what we should do is to spend some time to educate stakeholders, that is both right owners and users on what AVRS was established to achieve. We have done that for over one year now and have taken the message of AVRS around the country. We have also set up our operational mechanism so it is time to commence actual licensing of users of audio-visual content”.

In another development, as part of its commitment towards sustainable capacity building programmes for its members, the society has collaborated with the Centre for African Business, Law, and Entrepreneurship (CABLE), University of California, Irvine, .S., to organise a week-long conference focusing on various aspects of filmmaking with a view to scaling up the corporate quality assurance profile of Nollywood.

According to a statement signed by Professor Olufunmilayo Arewa of the School of Law, University of California and made available by Mr. Ali-Balogun, “the series of events which would run from February 01 through 06, 2016, would feature sessions in Los Angeles (Nollywood Meets Hollywood) where representatives of the Nollywood would meet with their counterparts from the film and television industry in Los Angeles; a Nollywood Workshop in Irvine, California; screening of Nollywood films, and the Africa Innovation Conference 2016, which will centre around development issues related to Nollywood”.

The delegation will also attend the 24th edition of the Pan African Film Festival, Los Angeles that will take place from February 4 through 15, 2016.

The statement further said, “CABLE and AVRS are organising the events as part of joint efforts to boost the creative capacities of Nigerian filmmakers and their comparative knowledge of collective management, technology and digital rights issues in film and television production and distribution.”

While justifying the trip to Los Angeles, Mr. Ali-Balogun said, “Quality assurance is part of the fundamental issues confronting Nollywood as an industry. Beyond our core mandate as a CMO, AVRS is committed to promoting individual development of its members as well as the development of Nollywood as a corporate entity. We shall therefore continue to seek growth opportunities that would benefit our members and stakeholders both at home and abroad, given that filmmaking and collective management of copyright in audio visual works are inter-related areas constantly driven by new innovations”.

The chairman once again called on users of audio-visual works to meet their obligations to AVRS in order to avoid litigations, which may arise from unlicensed use of such works, adding, “We have sensitised enough. We are ready to begin to make every naira and kobo count for right owners who are registered with AVRS”.

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