MSCN, COSON set for legal tussle over royalties
Sequel to the failure of Copyright Society Of Nigeria (COSON) and its Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, to account for monies collected on its repertoire, Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) has taken COSON and Okoroji to the Federal High Court, Lagos. The suit is predicated on Okoroji’s alleged non-compliance to honour a letter dated May 26, 2017. In the letter, MCSN, which was recently granted recognition by Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to act as a collective society, requested Okoroji to account for the monies he collected on the works of artists on MCSN’s repertoire.
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, MCSN is seeking a declaration that it is entitled to account of monies/royalties collected by the defendants, namely, the Copyright Society Of Nigeria (COSON) and its Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji on its copyright repertoire from 2010 till date and at any other time at all by the defendants and their predecessor in title. MCSN is, therefore, seeking the order of the court to compel COSON and its predecessor in title to account for all monies collected on behalf of its members, assignors, exclusive licensors and affiliates as well as money collected for the exploitation of its repertoire since 2010 and before.
It also seeking an order of the court, directing COSON to avail, furnish, and deliver to MCSN a detailed account of monies/royalties collected by the defendants on the copyright repertoire of the plaintiff from 2010 till date and at any other time at all by COSON or its predecessor in title. MCSN further sought an order of court compelling COSON to remit and or pay over all the accounted monies royalties due to the plaintiff forthwith.
Beyond that, MCSN wants an order of a perpetual injunction restraining COSON and Okoroji, their agents, assigns, servants, and anyone howsoever described from tampering with, licensing, collecting royalties on or dealing with musical works, sound recording and other ancillary works or rights in the repertoire of MCSN.
The suit, marked FHC/L/CS/1172/17 and filed by DA Awosika & Partners, was accompanied with a 36-paragraph statement of claims. In the suit, MCSN averred that notable Nigerian music authors, composers and publishers, including the late Moses Adeolu-Akinsanya (Baba Eto, Barrister Fatai Oladele Giwa and 129 others and international copyright holders, namely Performing Right Society Limited (PRS) and Mechanical Protection Copyright Society Limited (MCPS), both of the United Kingdom, were their promoters and members and they and their successors-in-title remain their incorporated members and subscribers to the Article and Memorandum of Association till date.