MultiChoice Nigeria in its bid to foster growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry has signed a landmark Music Broadcasting Licence Agreement (MBLA) with the Copyright Society of Nigeria (Coson) for licence to use Nigerian music in all its broadcast platforms in the country.
The Copyright Society of Nigeria is the nations sole collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings.
The highpoint of the MBLA is the voluntary undertaking by MultiChoice Nigeria to pay an agreed annual licence fee to Coson as rights for musical work exposed on DStv and ancillary platforms.
The payment follows weeks of mutual negotiation with Coson which is the sole statutory collecting society in Nigeria recognized by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
Expressing his satisfaction with the signing ceremony, Chief Tony Okoroji, Coson chairman said; ‘It is a great thing. It has been a long time coming. MultiChoice has clearly shown that it is a responsible corporate organization with genuine concern for the protection of intellectual property in Nigeria. Their partnership with us for the development of the music industry is commendable.”
He urged other corporate organisations in Nigeria to emulate MultiChoice and contribute to the effort to pay music rights owners their proper dues: “We urge other corporate organisation, bodies, associations and individuals to tow the part of honour like MultiChoice and set the intellectual property industry on the part to sustenance to encourage proper exploitation of commercial opportunities for those who have worked hard to entertain Nigerians. Without the support of all stakeholders, the intellectual property industry could die an unnatural death if we allow fraudsters to reap where they did not sow,” he said.
John Ugbe, managing director of MultiChoice Nigeria said that MultiChoice is committed to the promotion of the entertainment industry in Nigeria. He urged corporate bodies to partner with relevant agencies to support and protect intellectual property in the country. He deplored all forms of intellectual property crimes such as broadcast piracy which is currently bedeviling the broadcast industry in the country.
“Piracy has a detrimental effect on any industry and will lead to the long term erosion of the industry. This includes the effect on artists and filmmakers rights and their payments. Piracy also has a detrimental effect on the economy, since generally those involved in piracy do not pay for the right owners for the works that they utilize and hardly, if ever, pay taxes and/or employ staff. The money that they make on the theft, since that is what piracy ultimately is, goes only to their pockets and not the rightful owners of the rights or materials,” he said.
Ugbe also revealed that MultiChoice Nigeria’s operations is guarded by best global practices where the issues of right clearance for intellectual property is concerned: “We always emphasis that companies selling programming or channels on any of the channels on DStv that have not cleared rights for the broadcast of these programmes or channels are in contravention of International copyright laws conventions on the protection of intellectual property rights. The unauthorized transmission of programmes or channels, as well as the sale and purchase of these programmes for the purposes of viewing the programming on these channels is thus illegal and subject to litigation.”