By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Abuja
The Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, has instituted criminal charges against the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) and seven of its officials over alleged illegal operations.
NCC, via a press statement it issued in Abuja, said its investigations revealed that MCSN and the other accused persons had at various times, illegally granted copyright licenses and collected royalties without approval.
Those accused of complicity in the alleged fraud were Mayowa Ayilaran, Louis Udoh, Halim Mohammed, Banjo Omolara Bilquis, Yusuf Adogi Benson, Olakayode Ajayi and Njoku Gladys.
According to six separate charges entered against them before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, the accused persons, committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 39 (4), (5), and (6) of the Nigerian Copyright Act Cap C 28 LFN 2004.
The Director of Prosecution, NCC, Abdul Ter Kohol, who recommended the accused persons for trial, said the commission had received plethora of complaints and petitions regarding the alleged illegal operations of the Musical Copyright Society.
“Preliminary investigations carried out by the NCC indicated that the MCSN has been engaged in negotiating and granting copyright licenses and collecting royalties purportedly on behalf of copyright owners, without the approval of the Commission as required by law.
“The Commission, on September 18, 2012, consequently carried out an enforcement operation on the premises of MCSN located at No. 6 Olaribiro Street, Ikeja, Lagos, during which six senior officials of MCSN were arrested but the General Manager (Licensing Manager) Mr Louis Udoh escaped from the lawful custody of NCC officials.
“The said General Manager later turned up at the Lagos Office of the Commission for interrogation. However, the Chief Executive of MCSN, Mr Mayo Ayilaran, who was absent during the enforcement operation is yet to respond to the invitation of the Commission to clarify some issues.