We won’t sacrifice musicians’ interest over payment of royalty – Okoroji

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Tony Okoroji Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) says the society will not sacrifice the interest of musicians in the ongoing negotiations over the collection and distribution of music royalties.

A statement issued by COSON’s Senior Executive, Media, MMayree Uket, said the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had on Jan. 9, set up a committee to review the copyright royalty tariffs paid by broadcast stations to musicians in the country.

The statement said that the committee comprised of NBC, Nigerian Copyright Commission(NCC), COSON, Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN).

The statement quoted Okoroji as saying that the negotiation was in the best interest of the nation’s creative industry. “We understand the historic nature of the ongoing negotiations.

“We are willing to bend backwards, where it is necessary and compromise where we consider it appropriate. But we will not under any circumstance sacrifice the interest of members of COSON or the right of copyright owners in the various countries around the globe, who have mandated COSON to manage their rights,’’ he said.

He said that the rights of musicians would be protected, especially in the collection and payment of musical royalties to deserving artist. “We refuse to accept that the music industry in Nigeria must subsidise the broadcast industry.’’

Okoroji said that the large population of Nigeria had lead to an increase of musicians in the country. “Our music is heavily in demand across the world, more than that of any other nation in Africa.

“No one has yet given me any reason why in tiny countries, such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi are collecting far more royalties for music broadcasting than Nigeria.

“No one has told me why South Africa has to collect over one hundred times more royalties for music from broadcasting stations than in Nigeria,’’ he added.

The chairman said the royalties paid to Nigerian artists must be reasonable and in accordance with prevailing global standard.

“This is about the future of our children, who are investing their talents, time and resources to create great music that is shaking the world. They have my assurance that regardless of the provocation, intimidation or threat, we will fully defend their interests,’’ he added.

He said that negotiations were on and “this can never be a never ending process. The NBC pronouncement is clear as to when this process comes to an end, we are being very patient and professional.

He expressed optimism that the deliberations would further consolidate the growth of the music industry in Nigeria. “My hope is that at the end of this process, the music industry would have taken a major leap forward,’’ he said.

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