By NBF News

The Musical Copyright Society of Nigerian (MCSN) and Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) have been given 90 days within which to fashion out a working alliance on the platform of COSON, which is the approved collective management organisation (CMO) for music and sound recording in the country.

According to a statement issued by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Muhammed Bello Adoke gave the directive in Abuja during a consultative meeting he brokered recently between COSON, MCSN and the commission.

'Having heard the submissions of the parties and the NCC, Adoke directed both COSON and MCSN to forge a working arrangement on the platform of COSON (as the sole approved CMO for music and sound recording) in the overall interest of the music industry and report back in 90 days,' NCC says.

But in its reaction, MSCN has accused NCC of 'distortion and outright falsehood', saying Mr. Charles Obi that issued the statement was not present at the meeting with the Minister of Justice.

A statement issued by Mayo Ayilaran, MCSN's CEO reads thus: 'The Honourable Minister after acknowledging the fact that most of the issues as revealed at the meeting were not known to him, otherwise he would not have endorsed the approval given to COSON as recommended by the Director General of the NCC, directed that the period of 'conditional' or 'provisional' approval be reduced to 90 days within which both MCSN and COSON should find ways of 'working together.

'Before the meeting with the minister, no one, including the minister was informed that the approval given to COSON was provisional/conditional and limited to a period of term, particularly 18 months.

The public was made to believe that the approval was absolute and without term limit. The revelation which occurred at the meeting made the Honourable Minister to first reduce the term to 12 months and finally to 90 days with the clear proviso that parties would work together and come to that arrangement within 90 days otherwise the approval would be reviewed, particularly if the interests of MCSN and its assignors and members were found not to be adequately protected.'

In a related development, MCSN has called on the Nigerian Copyright Commission to revoke the licence granted COSON to operate as a collecting society. According to MCSN, it is hinging this on COSON's recent ceding of its licence to another organization.

COSON recently signed an agreement with Messrs Olusola Adekanola & Co. granting the firm of Chartered Accountants royalty collection rights and duties. The action, MCSN asserts, is enough proof that 'COSON does not possess the requisite expertise, experience, structures, personnel and resources to be approved as a collecting society/CMO', adding: 'COSON cannot legally transfer or assign the proprietary rights which have been legally and constitutionally granted to copyright owners, particularly under sections 10, 11 and 15 of the Copyright Act 2004 to another body without the consent of the copyright owner.'