COPYRIGHT WAR! - COSON DENIES THE BIG LIES FROM WAZOBIA AND COOL FM
Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has reacted to the information making the rounds that the proprietors of Cool FM and Wazobia FM have denied receiving any letters from either COSON or its solicitors and that they are not aware of the requirement that they should obtain copyright licence from COSON before the broadcast of any music or sound recordings.
Reacting to the information, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “If that is how the owners of Wazobia and Cool FM want to frame their narrative, then it is clear that they don't get it… they are in denial . Maybe they think that after a while, we will run out of steam. I laugh at their ignorance and naivety”
Commenting further, Chief Okoroji said, “rather than openly accept that they have goofed big time and find ways to make amends, they are continuing to exhibit their arrogance and stubbornness. They still consider themselves above the law and think that they are smarter than the thousands of musicians whose works they have illegitimately exploited for years to make millions for themselves. In line with the great hit song of late Sunny Okosun, by the time this is over, we will know for sure who owns the land”
Also commenting on the information, COSON Acting General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji said, “I am shocked by the alleged denial by the owners of Cool FM and Wazobia FM. I have a file full of copies of the letters to these stations. I also have the copies of the letters written by our lawyers. It is laughable to learn that they claim to be unaware of their legal responsibility to obtain copyright licence for the music they broadcast. At the COSON Stakeholders Forum held on July 1, 2010 at Protea Hotel, GRA IKeja, where this issue was discussed for hours, COOL FM was represented by Ms. Alero Eghaghe, their Assistant General Manager, Music. The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has published several public notices on the matter. The subject has been a hot topic across the Nigerian media for several months. I have called Cool FM on the phone several times asking them to comply with the law, without any positive response. Who are they trying to deceive? They want to hide their head in the sand. Their claim is a joke and an afterthought.”
Also reacting, Mr. Efe Omorogbe, the CEO of Nowmuzik, the managers of Tuface Idibia and many of the new generation stars of the music industry said, “These guys don't know that the music industry has changed. They think that it is business as usual. A revolution has taken place before their eyes and they did not see it. When COSON speaks, it speaks with the mandate of the industry. All the key organizations in the music industry are behind COSON. We are united in this cause. The era of free music in Nigeria is gone forever”
It will be recalled that COSON on January 17 announced at a press briefing that it had requested President Goodluck Jonathan to revoke the broadcast licenses of Cool FM and Wazobia FM for the rabid disdain of the nation's broadcast code and the copyright law.
Speaking in the same vein, the “Elegant Stallion” of Nigerian music, Ms Onyeka Onwenu, said, “Last week, COSON licensed all the stations of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria all over the country. If the massive FRCN can subject itself to be licensed by COSON, who is Cool FM? Who is Wazobia FM? This is an organization that was picketed by musicians a few years ago for the same reason. They have not learnt their lesson. This is end game”
According to COSON, “The owners of COOL FM and WAZOBIA FM, who have made hundreds of millions of naira annually in advertising revenue, principally from the broadcast of music and sound recordings, have shown clearly that despite the provisions of the law, they have no intention of obtaining appropriate authorization or license for the content they deploy or pay one kobo for the music and sound recordings that sustain their operations. In other words, COOL FM and WAZOBIA FM are above the law”.
ELZABETH IKE (MS)
Head, Membership & Communications