Better days are ahead for the music industry in Nigeria as the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) braces up to overhaul the regulatory framework for collective management of copyright to ensure transparency and accountability in the collection and distribution of royalties in the interest of right owners.
The Director-General of NCC, Mr. John O. Asein who made this declaration at a Webinar marking the World Music Day on 21 June 2020, indicated that the final report on the ongoing diagnostic study on Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) in Nigeria, being carried out by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in partnership with the Commission, would assist the Commission in its bid to fine-tune the operations of CMOs for better service delivery in the country.
Addressing panellists and participants at a webinar on “Introduction of IP Monitoring, Tracking and Royalty Distribution” organised by the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) and BusinessDayNG to commemorate the World Music Day, the Director-General pointed out that the real success of a CMO was measured by the effectiveness of its collection and distribution function verifiable through the simple rules of good governance, responsible leadership, efficiency, accountability and transparency.
He emphasised the need for copyright administrators to change the way rights are managed in order to ensure that right owners, and not managers, are the ones enriched.
The Director-General further charged the CMOs to assist right owners to earn every Naira due to them through title-specific distribution of royalties, particularly in the field of music and not force them to take less under the guise of general distribution of royalties. He noted that this was possible with deployment of appropriate technology and, therefore, encouraged CMOs to embrace new business models and leverage on available technological solutions that would help them operate more efficiently and deliver on their primary mandate for the benefit of their members.
The Chief Executive Officer of MCSN, Mr. Mayowa Ayilaran, announced during the webinar that MCSN had adopted the use of an in-house technological application for tracking and monitoring the digital and analogue exploitation of musical works nationwide and worldwide and for facilitating efficient distribution of royalties.
Commending the new initiative of MCSN, the Director-General noted that such solution had become imperative with the emergence of multiple digital platforms for exploitation of creative content, and the blurring of lines between categories of creative works. He added that technology would also play a crucial role in delineating the repertoire of the different CMOs and assist towards building alliances among such CMOs.
to the Director-General, this underscored the reason why CMOs must be held to a high standard of accountability and that the Commission would not sit back and watch funds of CMOs being treated as if they were private funds or wasted on self-serving programmes and projects that do not benefit members.
The Director-General used the occasion of the Day to reassure stakeholders of the renewed commitment of the Nigerian Copyright Commission to building synergies with the different sectors of the copyright industry to achieve a stronger copyright system that works for the ultimate benefit of right owners. He reaffirmed Government policy on the approval of more than one CMO for a class of copyright owners in order to adequately protect the right owners’ interests. “That has come to stay for now as the policy of Government since a CMO cannot ‘adequately’ protect the interests of a class of copyright owners unless its managers run the CMO according to the law,” he emphasised.
While conceding the positive affirmation of the rights of individual copyright owners, the Director-General cautioned that such does not derogate from the provisions empowering the Commission to carry out regulatory and oversight functions on CMOs under the Copyright Act.
The Director-General emphasised the need for all players to agree to be subject to the rule of law and noted that no one CMO or person was immune from sanctions as prescribed under the law. “Fortunately, there are a whole lot of instruments for dealing with infractions and rogue CMOs and persons whose activities may threaten the economic well-being of right owners,” the NCC DG pointed out.
Vincent A. Oyefeso
Director, Public Affairs