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‘Collecting society as bridge between creators, users of music’

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
01 September 2019   |   4:07 am
The role of collective management organisations (CMOs) in the world over is to protect the copyright of authors, composers, publishers and creators of music and sound recordings.

The role of collective management organisations (CMOs) in the world over is to protect the copyright of authors, composers, publishers and creators of music and sound recordings. It also serves as a bridge (service provider) between them (authors, composers and publishers of intellectual property) and those who desire the use of such creation for profit or commercial purposes.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN), Mr. Mayo Ayilaran, MCSN is fulfilling this role as a collecting society. He said it is protecting the copyright interests of its members, and at the same time, making it easy for users like hotels, restaurants and bars, nightclubs, eateries and other businesses that deploy music and sound recordings in the course of their operations.

Ayilaran, who spoke at the 27th yearly general meeting of the Nigeria Hotel Association (NHA) in Abuja, said in fulfilling this dual role, the society, over the years, has acquired the rights to millions of musical works from around the world by way of direct assignments and licenses from its members and reciprocal agreements with sister organisations in order to make them available and easily accessible to users in Nigeria.

“Instead of wasting resources and time travelling around to seek for and obtain permission for the exploitation of music of both local and foreign artistes, all one needs to do is just to apply to MCSN and permission will be granted. Imagine trying to get in touch with every author, composer or publisher scattered all over the world for permission to have their individual music publicly performed in a hotel or premises and pay their fees. That is the nightmare situation, which MCSN helps to resolve as an owner, assignee and exclusive licensee of copyright in the massive repertoire of music and sound recordings and as a CMO. With a single license from the society, you can access millions of works at your convenience,” he noted.

Ayilaran revealed that when the first private radio station in Nigeria, Raypower 100.5 FM, was to be established in 1994, the owner, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, went around the world from Latin America to Europe and America in search of copyright license for the use of music in its intended broadcasts.

According to him, Dokpesi was informed at every stop that he didn’t need to travel for copyright license outside Nigeria because there was already a society in Nigeria vested with the sole authority to do that on their behalf. He debunked the erroneous impression that radio and television licence being collected by some local governments is synonymous with copyright licence.

He said radio/TV licence collected by Local Government authorities is on the residual list, Section 1 (b) of the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended while Copyright is contained under Section 251 (1) (f) and on the exclusive list, item 13 of the Second Schedule of the Constitution. “This alone makes the distinction clear,” he said.

He further revealed that it is based on these legal and constitutional requirements that organisations such as, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and the Hotel Owners and Managers Association of Lagos State/Hotel and Personal Services Employers’ Association of Nigeria (HOMAN/HOPESEA) have signed agreements with MCSN for the permission to exploit its repertoire in their operations since the historic judgments of the Supreme Court in 2018 that MCSN has the absolute right to protect its repertoire in addition to being approved as a collecting society by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

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