Breaking News!!! Transport Company, Big Joe, In Hot Soup As Coson Hits It With N500 Million Court Action
In line with its recent promise to address the copyright infringement of musical works and sound recordings in the transport industry across Nigeria with its copyright enforcement initiative, ‘Operation No Hiding Place’, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s sole collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings has filed a key copyright infringement action against Benin City based transport company, Big Joe Ventures Ltd. Also joined in the suit is Mr. Joseph Osayende, Managing Director of the company.
In suit No. FHC/B/CS/153/15 filed at the Federal High Court, Benin City on June 30, 2015, COSON is asking for a declaration that the act of the Big Joe Ventures and Joseph Osayende, without the authority or permission of COSON, in copying, communicating to the public and permitting to be performed in the commercial buses and bus stations owned or operated by Big Joe Motors, the various musical works and sound recordings belonging to the members, assignees and affiliates of COSON is an infringement of the rights of the Plaintiff as guaranteed by the Copyright Act (Cap 28, LFN 2004)
COSON has also asked the court for the award of 500 Million Naira in unpaid royalties and damages against Big Joe Ventures Ltd and Mr. Joseph Osayende for the unauthorized copying, communication to the public, permission to perform in public and infringement of the copyright in the musical works and sound recordings belonging to the members, affiliates and assignors of the Plaintiff.
COSON is also requesting a perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents, privies or servants from the unauthorized copying, communication to the public, permission to perform and infringement of the copyright in the musical works and sound recordings belonging to its members, affiliates and assignors.
Reacting to the development, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, ‘Nigerian law is not a piece of artwork to be admired. It is made to be respected and obeyed by all. Nobody should feel sorry for anyone sued by COSON. For years, they have been reminded over and over again to act within the law. Some of them however believe that Nigeria is a place where there is no consequence for what you do so they treat the law with scorn. We assure them that they will find out that they are wrong. It is well known all over the world that you cannot deploy intellectual property belonging to someone else in your business without a licence. That is the linchpin of most strong economies in the world today but there are many in Nigeria who rake in millions from exploiting the works of creative people but show absolute contempt for the rights of the same creative people. We are committed to bringing that to an end’.
Speaking also on the action, the General Manager of COSON, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji said, “Whatever we say at COSON, we will do. We have been speaking to the Nigerian transport industry for a long time. They are not above the law. We have exhausted all options and are left with no other choice but to take appropriate actions against those who will not listen to reason. Those who know COSON will tell them that Big Joe is just the beginning. Others will be caught by the web sooner than they think”