COSON DRAGS BOLINGO HOTEL ABUJA TO COURT
Recently, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation's sole copyright collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings, warned all hotels, restaurants and event centers located in Abuja which have not obtained copyright licenses for the use of music in their establishments to brace up for a major confrontation.
The warning was issued when a COSON delegation led by the Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, met with Engr. Onofiok Ekong, President, Hotel Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA). At the meeting in September, the COSON new all-encompassing war against music copyright infringers in Nigeria tagged 'Operation No Hiding Place' was discussed.
In fulfillment of that warning, COSON has dragged Bolingo Hotels & Towers Abuja, one of the FCT's best known hotels, to court for copyright infringement.
In suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/930/2014 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja by Abuja based lawyer, Austin C. Uzendu, COSON is asking for the total of N108.961 Million in royalty owed and damages.
COSON is also asking for a perpetual injunction restraining Bolingo Hotels & Towers, its agents and privies from any further infringement of the copyright assigned to COSON which infringement is due to the unauthorized copying, public performance or communication to the public of the musical works and sound recordings belonging to the members of COSON, its assignors or affiliates.
In its 45 paragraph Statement of Claim, COSON pleaded that Bolingo Hotels & Towers has for several years up to the time of filing the suit, continuously allowed the use of its facilities for the unlicensed and unauthorized performance to the public of musical works belonging to COSON members, affiliates and assignors and the unlicensed and unauthorized communication to the public of musical works and sound recordings belonging to COSON members, affiliates and assignors thereby infringing the copyright of COSON, its members, affiliates and assignors.
COSON also pleaded that in compliance with the law and respect for the owners of copyright, several hotels in Nigeria involved in similar trade with Bolingo Hotel & Towers and operating under the same environment have obtained the license of COSON and are paying royalties for the copying, public performance and communication to the public of musical works and sound recordings in their establishment but the owners of Bolingo Hotel & Towers continue knowingly to infringe on the copyright of the members, assignors and affiliates of COSON.
Speaking on the development, COSON General Manager, Mr. Chinedu Chukwuji said, “We mean business in Abuja and every other part of the country. No sensible user of music would want to confront COSON. Whatever we say we will do, we will do. We have long warned every one of the users. We had appealed to them with no result. We have exhausted all options and now the law must take its course. There will be no more hiding place for infringers of copyright in musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria. Anyone that we have not taken on should not deceive himself that we are not seeing him. If we have not hit you yet, do not think that you are not on our radar. Do not wait. Resolve your issues now. It may be your turn tomorrow or the day after. Those who think that the law cannot be enforced in Nigeria will learn from COSON”.