WIND OF ''GOOD LUCK'' BLOWING ACROSS THE NATION
Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji has declared that a wind of ''good luck'' is blowing across the nation. Chief Okoroji was speaking at the Ondo Hall of Lagos Airport Hotel on Monday, May 24, 2010 at a press conference called to celebrate the approval of COSON by the Nigerian Copyright Commission as the nation sole collective management organization for music and sound recordings.
According to Chief Okoroji, the Nigerian music industry may be a beneficiary of the wind of good luck blowing across the nation, generated by our brand new President with a fascinating name. He thanked President Jonathan for creating the environment that led to the approval of COSON which according to Okoroji has freed the music industry from the shackles that has held it down for so long.
What was expected to be a normal press conference metamorphosed into a huge celebration as music industry big wigs stormed the venue chanting the COSON slogan, let the music pay From different locations in the expansive hall, corks of bottles of choice champagne flew into the air as the journalists joined the music industry stakeholders in the merriment to celebrate the end of the excruciating years of dispute over the structure of collective management of copyright in Nigeria.
The first bottle of champagne was popped to thunderous applause by PMAN President, Admiral Dele Abiodun, who turned up at the venue with his entire executive members. Another bottle was popped by Mr. Obi Asika, CEO of Storm 360. Several other bottles were popped by different stakeholders at the venue before veteran journalist Mr. Richard Eghaghe, former president of Conference of Music Journalists, was asked to pop a bottle on behalf of all the journalists at the event. Prominent among the industry stakeholders in the hall was elegant stallion, Ms Onyeka Onwenu who was in a boisterous mood. Also present was Bright Chimezie of the Zigima fame and other frontline artistes such as Sunny Neji, Weird MC, Kenny Saint Brown, Emma Ogosi, African Rockstar, Djinee , MI , Alariwo, Foster Zeeno, Mozzyx, Epi Fanio, Floxxy B, etc.
Also present were leaders of the Nigerian Music Industry Coalition, most of who turned out in the now famous COSON embossed green and white T shirts. Amongst them were ace producer, Laolu Akins; Chairman, Nigerian Association of Recording Industries, Mr. Toju Ejueyitchie; Mr Efe Omorogbe of Association of Music Business Professionals (AMB. PRO), Mr. Joel Ajayi of Music Label Owners & Recording Industries Association of Nigeria; Dr. Ben Ofoeze of Biltop Group; Alec Godwin of Alec Music; Mr. Tunji Odunbakun of Decross, Mr. Charles Imoloame (Charlimo) etc.
In his speech which was received with a standing ovation, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, there are many who were sure that this problem will never be solved. Many indeed laughed at our incredibly energy sapping resolve to ensure that the next generation does not inherit the nightmare we found ourselves in. It is to the credit of our nation that we can have such heated debates but at the end of the day, we are able to keep faith with our laws and with good sense
He announced that in the spirit of a no victor, no vanquished position, COSON is inviting Mr. Orits Wiliki of MCSN, whose organization was not approved, to join the COSON Board and all members of MCSN to join COSON so that everyone can work together to take the industry to another level. He assured all MCSN members that none of them will experience any discrimination in COSON. He also announced the invitation of applications from all members of staff of MCSN for possible absorption into the COSON management.
Chief Okoroji said that the COSON leadership recognizes that the approval is not the end of the struggle because there is a lot of work to do and all hands need to be on deck to do the work successfully. According to him, the victory being celebrated does not belong to any individual or group but to the entire music industry. He reiterated that there will be no losers as a result of the COSON approval as the intention is to find accommodation for every well meaning stakeholder regardless of which side of the argument the person may have been on.
Chief Okoroji called on the Copyright Commission to deploy its powers to ensure that henceforth, no person or organization in Nigeria is allowed to treat with levity the duty to obtain a copyright license before the use of music in any commercial operation, saying, 'with the approval of COSON as a sole collecting society, the old excuse, we don't know who to pay to is dead and buried.
He called on all commercial users of music in Nigeria such as broadcast organizations; events organizers and events venues; cellphone, ringtone and ringback tone companies; advertising and promotions agencies; hotels, nightclubs and restaurants; transport companies, airlines and airports management, managers of banking halls, etc, to use even more music, whether domestic or foreign, but to ensure that they obtain appropriate licence from COSON before any such use.
Chief Okoroji also announced that COSON Stakeholders Forum will be held around the country in the coming weeks to ensure that there is clear understanding of the issues involved in music copyright licensing across the nation. He also revealed that COSON is already engaged in significant discussions with the key international copyright organizations so as to ensure the protection of Nigerian musical works everywhere in the world.
ELIZABETH IKE (MISS)