*Your activities are illegal -NCC
*We are law abiding Nigerians -MCSN
BY BENJAMIN NJOKU
The unending feud between the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria, MCSN took a new dimension last Tuesday when the former wielded the big stick against the latter through a raid at its Lagos office.
The regulatory body accused the society of engaging in an illegal collection of copyright royalties on behalf of faceless members and therefore warned it to desist from such act.
In a statement signed by Nseabasi Unagwu of the Public Affairs Department of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) following the raid, NCC explained that the raid became necessary in order to forestall the illegal activities of MCSN.
NCC Director of Enforcement, Mr. Augustine Amodu said that investigations by NCC had shown that MCSN was engaged in illegal licensing for musical and film works.
He said “Prior to the raid, the Commission had conducted a preliminary investigation on the activities of MCSN to determine whether they were carrying out the functions of a collecting society. The preliminary investigation showed that they were illegally granting license for usage of musical and film works as well as collecting royalties from people they granted license to use these works and were purportedly distributing royalties to those they chose”
Re-stating that the only collecting society approved for music and sound recording by NCC is the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Mr. Amodu added that five officers of MCSN,including Olakayode Ajayi, Halim Mohammed, Njoku Gladys, Yusuf Adoji and Banjo Omolara Bilqis, were arrested during the raid.
“The General Manager, Licensing, of MCSN, Mr Loius Udoh escaped lawful custody while the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mayo Ayilaran, is still at large. Some documents and computers used to carry out the illegal activities were seized during the raid”.
NCC said MCSN has been refused an operating license by five past Directors-General of the body on the grounds of non-qualification after due process had been approached at three different occasions by concerned stakeholders to find amicable working modalities with COSON. Rather than listen to the stakeholders, the organization continued to engage in illegal collection of music copyright royalties from unsuspecting companies.