Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation's sole government approved copyright collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings, has asked all musicians, music industry operatives and stakeholders in the creative sector to begin an immediate boycott of Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island. The decision to begin the boycott was unanimously ratified by the hundreds of COSON members who thronged Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 for the Extra-Ordinary General Meeting of COSON at which a royalty distribution of N90 million to musicians in the country was approved.

The boycott is predicated on the fact that Lagos Oriental Hotel is infringing the copyright of members and affiliates of COSON as it has failed despite repeated requests, to license its facilities for the use of musical works and sound recordings as required by law. This is in contrast with other major hotels operating in the same environment such as Eko Hotel & Suites; Intercontinental Lagos; Protea Ikeja; Raddison Blue; Southern Sun; Federal Palace Hotel; Wheat Baker Hotel ; Golden Tulip; Lagos Airport Hotel, Rockview Hotel, Sheraton Abuja, Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Valencia Hotel Abuja, Chelsea Hotel Abuja, Amber Residence Ikeja, Protea Hotel Maitama, Protea Hotel Victoria Island, Protea Hotel Select Emotan, etc all of which are licensed by COSON.

One of the consequences of the boycott is that Nigerian musicians may no longer attend or perform at any event at Lagos Oriental Hotel including the All African Music Awards (AFRIMA) billed to hold at the Grand Ballroom of the hotel on December 27, 2014. Already, both the organizers of AFRIMA and owners of Lagos Oriental Hotel have been informed by COSON of this development.

Members of COSON also unanimously decided to back the boycott of recalcitrant organizations with the massive picketing by musicians of such establishments.

In his address at the EGM, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “At the last meeting of your Board, it was decided that COSON and all its members begin an active boycott of all hotels and event venues who have failed to obtain copyright licences for the music deployed in their establishments. This is necessary to send the message to one and all that we mean business and that there will be consequences to those who do not respect their obligations to us. I hereby call on all our members to heed this decision of the Board and stay away from those places where they have no respect for us. Please remember that we continue to be in a historic struggle and that we must make the necessary sacrifice for the success of the struggle”.

It will be recalled that recently, COSON began a boycott of Westown Hotel Ikeja for similar reasons. As a result of the boycott, COSON members stayed away from the British Council Creative Industries Expo held at the hotel on December 8 and 9, 2014. In solidarity with COSON other creative industry groups have joined in the Westown boycott. For instance the newly government approved Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) asked practitioners in the Nigerian motion picture industry to stay away from Westown Hotel. Coincidentally, the Chairman of AVRS, Mr. Mahmood Ali Balogun, was a guest at the COSON EGM at which the Oriental Hotel Boycott was ratified.

Commenting recently on the massive battle being waged by COSON against copyright infringers in Nigeria, COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji said, “The battle line is drawn. No sensible user of music would want to confront COSON. Whatever we say we will do, we will do. We have long warned every one of the users. We had appealed to them with no result. We have exhausted all options and we have now decided to deploy the many different tools in our tool box. There will be no more hiding place for any infringer of copyright in musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria. Anyone that we have not taken on should not deceive himself that we are not seeing him. If we have not hit you yet, do not think that you are not on our radar. Do not wait. Resolve your issues now. It may be your turn tomorrow or the day after. Those who think that the law cannot be enforced in Nigeria will learn from COSON”.