by Chi Ibe
According to a press statement from the Copyright Association of Nigeri (COSON), “the premises of the National Theatre in Lagos wore a festive look on Tuesday, 13 December as musicians and stakeholders in the music industry attended the 1st Annual General Meeting of the Copyright Society of Nigeria, the nation’s sole approved collective management organisation for musical works and sound recordings.”
Stars at the venue included octogenarian musicians, Chris Ajilo, Emmanuel Ntia and Fatai Rolling Dollar and Nigeria’s biggest reggae stars of all time, Majek Fashek, Ras Kimono and Black O’ Rice. There were the likes of Zule Zoo, Baba Dee, Daddy Fresh, Onyeka Onwenu, Stella Monye, Kenny Saint Brown, Azzizat, Arthquake, Frank D’ Nero, Adewale Ayuba, Tony Grey, etc.
COSON Chairman, Tony Okoroji, in his speech, traced the achievements of COSON in its short period of existence. “I was told that COSON would never be registered by the government and indeed significant steps were taken to block the registration of COSON. I was told that COSON would never be approved as a CMO. Indeed, a huge amount of money was spread around to ensure that COSON was not approved. On May 20, 2010, COSON was given the certificate of approval by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to be Nigeria’s sole government licensed collective management organisation for musical works and sound recordings. On 24 June, 2011, news came from Paris, France that COSON had been admitted to the membership of CISAC. Today, the wings of COSON are spreading fast across the globe and our activities are being significantly supported by our partners in Geneva where the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has its headquarters”.
The highlight of the meeting was the announcement that the sum of N25, 720, 588.20 was available for immediate distribution to all members of COSON whose names were on the society’s register as at 19 May, 2011, if so approved by the AGM. The scheme was indeed approved by the members and the distribution started at the venue amidst singing, dancing and jubilation as hundreds of musicians stood in line, collected their royalties peacefully and thanked the Almighty for witnessing the day when such could happen in Nigeria.