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COSON Drags First Bank To Court In N700m Lawsuit

Source: Osaremen Ehi James/Nigeriafilms.com
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The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), has taken First Bank of Nigeria to court over an alleged copyright infringement. COSON filed a suit against the bank on Tuesday at a Federal High Court in Lagos. The body is asking for N700million.

In suit No. FHC/CS/L/530/2014 filed on behalf of COSON by its lawyer, Mr. Justin Ige, COSON begged the court to force First Bank to pay N700million in unpaid royalties and damages for copyright infringement with respect to the unauthorized use of several musical works and sound recordings communicated to the public, deployed and exploited as marketing, promotional and advertising materials by First Bank Plc and contained in Sights and Sounds of Carnival Calabar.

COSON claimed First Bank Plc did not apply for or secure a license or any authorization whatsoever before exploiting, communicating to the public, publishing and deploying the musical works and sound recordings of its members and assignors as included in, reproduced and contained in the Sights and Sounds of Carnival Calabar and deployed by First Bank Plc in its marketing, promotion and advertising.

Speaking on the development, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, 'Let it be heard loud and clear, that COSON is determined to sanitize the copyright environment in Nigeria. No one is too big or too small to abide by the law. A lot of young Nigerians are investing their talents, time and money in creating the music which is making Nigeria famous across the world and they deserve to be respected. For anyone to exploit their creative ingenuity, the person must get appropriate permission. If a musician takes a loan from a bank without paying back, the bank will chase the musician to the ends of the world to recover the loan. What right does a bank have to use the property of the musician without payment or authorization?''

Also reacting to the development, COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji, said, “Is it not hard to imagine why after being aware of the appropriate steps to take in the public communication of music, some people just find a way to kick against the law? Music is an investment and nobody treats lightly his investment. COSON will continue to ensure that the music industry in Nigeria is beneficial to all investors, foreign or local. We will see to it that the music pays no matter what tactics some music users may try to deploy in evading their obligations”.

Efforts made by Nollywoodgists.com to get the reaction of First Bank on this story were futile. As at the time of posting this story, a representative of First Bank, Folake Ani-Mumuney, who we learnt is presently not in the country, did not reply to a text message sent to her by Nollywoodgists.com on the matter.