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Nigeria Commits to Domestication of Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual

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Nigeria, in the ongoing reform of its copyright system, is taking steps towards the domestication of the provisions of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, which came into force on 28th April 2020.

Mr. John O. Asein, Director-General of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), disclosed this in his opening remarks at a Webinar with the theme: Strengthening Nigeria’s Creative Sector through Improved Rights for Artists and Performers, to mark the coming into force of the treaty.

Expressing concern over the loss of revenue in the audiovisual industry, he assured that the Commission would work with the guilds, associations and collective management organisation in the industry to develop appropriate mechanisms to ensure greater return on creative investment.

He noted that such interventions would necessitate looking into various aspects of the industry, including engagement contracts, distribution bottlenecks, online abuses and rights management issues.

The Director-General reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment to improving the protection available to audiovisual performers, especially “in today’s digital environment where copyright works are easily retransmitted on various online platforms often without recourse to the right owners or the performers.”

Noting that Nigeria’s film industry ranked among the top three in the world, he expressed worry that the ranking has not translated to real economic benefit and enhanced status for the performers “who stand before the lights and cameras transforming scripts to action”.

Mr. Asein expressed sadness that in recent times, well-known film and television actors faced with health challenges have had to appeal to the public for assistance which often came in trickles or a little too late.

“The current global pandemic has further amplified the vulnerability of creators – authors, musicians, actors and other performers – and it underscores the need to have a fallback system to sustain them beyond their active years and especially in time of economic downturn. These are people who generate or bring life to the copyright works that we enjoy but in most cases they do not have access to any form of pension or gratuity”, he stated.

The Director-General who congratulated member states of WIPO despite the fact that the Treaty was coming into force about eight years after its conclusion in June 2012, urged participants at the Webinar to provide “initial thoughts on how the balanced application of the provisions of the Treaty could help Nigeria achieve its laudable objectives.”

The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances was adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances, which took place in Beijing from June 20 to 26, 2012.

The Treaty modernises and updates for the digital era the protection for singers, musicians, dancers and actors in audiovisual performances. It upgrades the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961) and complements the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), which updated protection for performers and producers of phonograms.

The Beijing Treaty encompasses the performances of actors in different media, such as film and television, and also includes musicians when their musical performances are recorded in a DVD or any other audiovisual platform. It grants performers economic rights in fixed and unfixed performances, as well as certain moral rights.

Under the Beijing Treaty, performers are accorded four kinds of economic rights for their performances fixed in audiovisual fixations, namely the right of reproduction; the right of distribution; the right of rental; and the right of making available.

The Treaty obliges each contracting party to adopt, in accordance with its legal system, the measures necessary to ensure the application of the Treaty, including ensuring that enforcement procedures are available for effective action against any act of infringement of rights.


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FCCPC Refuses to Challenge Multichoice over Hike of DStv, GOtv Subscriptions @ Tribunal

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Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has declined to oppose the preliminary objection of Multichoice Nigeria,  Pay-TV operator, which challenged the jurisdiction of a court sitting in Abuja that recently restrained it from increasing the prices of its DStv and GOtv packages.

FCCPC Refuses to Challenge Multichoice over Hike of DStv, GOtv Subscriptions @ Tribunal

Nikiomari Abeke, counsel for the FCCPC, told the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) on Thursday that he was not opposing the application of Multichoice Nigeria.

Recall that the he tribunal had restrained MultiChoice from increasing its subscription rates pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice filed by Festus Onifade through Ejiro Awaritoma, his lawyer,.

Onifade, who sued Multichoice Nigeria Ltd, had accused the former of unjustly increasing subscription fees without one month’s notice to customers, seeking interim orders against the Pay TV.

A three-member tribunal, chaired by Saratu Shafii, had ruled in favor of Onifade by restraining Multichoice in the interim, in the suit marked CCPT/OP/2/2024.

The court  held that “the 1st Defendant(Multichoice) is hereby restrained, whether by themselves, her privies, assigns by whatsoever name called, from going ahead with impending price increase schedule to take effect from 1st May 2024 pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice already filed before this Honourable Tribunal.”

But M.J. Onibanjo (SAN), Multichoice’s lawyer, filed a preliminary objection urging the court to decline jurisdiction on the suit filed by Festus Onifade because such price dispute case had been decided before in favor of his client.

Onifade also asked the tribunal to direct Multichoice Nigeria Limited to pay the sum of N1 billion  or any amount the tribunal deemed fit in this circumstance for “deliberately disobeying, contravening, and failure to comply with the Interim Order of this Honourable Tribunal granted on the 29th April, 2024.”

At the resumed sitting, Onibanjo tendered and adopted the previous judgment of the tribunal in suit no CCPT/OP/1/2022(Exhibit A), alongside his application, saying when a court had determined an issue between the same parties on the same subject matter before, that matter cannot be re-litigated again by any tribunal or court.

“This tribunal cannot sit on appeal on its decision. This tribunal is bound by its own decision in Exhibit A; that it is not the forum where the claimant can come to seek to regulate the prices and services offered by Multichoice,” Onibanjo said, urging the tribunal to strike out the suit.

On his part, Onifade argued that the issue he placed before the court is whether Multichoice Nigeria gave adequate notice in respect of the May 1, 2024 price TV subscription increase, and not price regulation or increase.

“It is our submission that the eight-day notice issued by Multichoice Nigeria is insufficient in law. A monthly subscriber should be given at least a month.

The FCCP counsel, Abeke, said his client “is not in opposition of the first defendant (Multichoice) and to that extent, no process and no counter was filed to the motion of the first defendant.”

After hearing from the parties, the three-man panel chaired by Justice Thomas Okosu adjourned the suit to June  7 for ruling.

Multichoice announced new price adjustments on DStv and GOtv packages on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.


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9mobile Unveils Treelz Entertainment Platform

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Nigeria’s customer-focused telecommunications company, 9mobile, has unveiled Treelz, an innovative digital entertainment platform for customers on the 9mobile network.

Treelz is a platform designed for customers to experience a world of entertainment through Movies, e-learning, fun videos, gaming, music, sports, photo filters and lots more!

Speaking during the unveiling, the Products and Digital Services Champion at 9mobile, John Muo, stated that, “Treelz is a comprehensive entertainment ecosystem that combines advanced features and seamless connectivity to deliver an unparalleled user experience.

With Treelz, users can enjoy a wide range of exciting and engaging rich media contents, including video games, movie and music hubs, sports and e-learning platforms, which are all accessible through a single, intuitive platform.”

“Treelz is available on the 9mobile website and can be accessed under the “Digital Services” tab on 9mobile.com.ng or by simply clicking the link https://9mobile.com.ng/treelz.

Customers who are not on the 9mobile network but wish to enjoy the thrills of the platform should activate a 9mobile SIM or port their existing line to 9mobile to enjoy the service,” Mou added.

The platform represents the culmination of 9mobile’s commitment to innovation and customer-centricity, offering unparalleled features and capabilities.

Customers can access the rich contents on Treelz for as low as N30 per service via airtime subscription only. The daily or weekly subscription guarantees access to play games, watch movie, and listen to music on the website.

Chineze Amanfo, Public Relations Lead at 9mobile, while expressing her delight at the unveiling said, “The expertise and influence of the media are invaluable in helping 9mobile spread the word about this groundbreaking platform and its transformative impact on communication and entertainment.

Your endorsement and coverage will not only help raise awareness about Treelz by 9mobile but also empower individuals to embrace its unique qualities especially its ability to entertain and educate.”

With Treelz, 9mobile continues to push the boundaries of innovation within the digital interactive space. Experience the power of seamless connectivity, enhanced collaboration, and unmatched convenience with Treelz by 9mobile.


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Again, Financial Times Recognises BHM as one of Africa’s Fastest Growing Companies

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In a remarkable achievement, Nigerian company BHM has earned a coveted spot in the Financial Times ranking of Africa’s fastest-growing companies for the second consecutive year.

The prestigious FT ranking, rapidly becoming one of the critical barometers of business success across the African continent, recognises BHM’s stellar performance and solidifies its position as one of the nation’s corporate frontrunners.

The list ranks independent African companies by their organic, internally stimulated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue for the period under review.

“The incredible support from our clients and partners across the world has been instrumental in our growth,” said Ayeni Adekunle, Founder and CEO of BHM.

“This recognition is further validation of our strategic vision, and our ambition to build the first truly global communications services company with African roots.”

BHM’s inclusion in the FT ranking is another milestone, as the company continues to lead the industry with its innovative approach to communications.

The company’s impressive financial performance, spearheaded by robust revenue growth and strategic market expansion, has captured the attention of industry analysts and investors alike.

Despite the economic challenges in Africa within the period Abebe Selassie, Head of the IMF’s Africa department pointed out that many businesses still managed to survive: “Much of the private sector, particularly the private sector that’s not directly reliant on government business, has shown incredible resilience.”

The ranking was created by the FT and Statista to showcase the continent’s private growth champions. “The FT-Statista ranking reveals the type of companies that, even in hard times, have managed to grow, often by disrupting markets,” the article stated.

BHM’s ability to capitalise on emerging opportunities while navigating the complexities of the African business landscape has solidified its reputation as a force to be reckoned with. With research-led innovations such as the continent’s first PR & Communications Report (APCR), and the UK’s Cost of Living Survey, among others, the company has continuously exhibited its breadth for data-led solutions. World PR Day (WPRD) which is celebrated every July 16, is also one of the company’s interventions in the global communications landscape.

Femi Falodun, Executive Director, BHM Holdings said: this is a testament to the hard work of our people and the incredible support we’ve enjoyed from partners and clients,

BHM’s story demonstrates the immense potential that exists within the country’s vibrant communications sector. The company’s ambitious plans for further expansion across Africa and beyond point towards an even brighter future.


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