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COSON illegal until…

The messy situation that has engulfed the copyright community in Nigeria in more than one and half decades assumed a new dimension over the week.

In a move industry watchers say is strange to the copyright laws of the nation, an obviously frustrated Attorney General of the Federation announced to the two warring bodies, the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) to sheath their sword as he has tabled the copyright matter of Nigeria before the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

The decision by the AGF according to our investigation, followed the inability of both parties to agree on how best to manage copyright administration in Nigeria.

The implication of the development is that with the expiration of the three months’ deadline served on both parties, there is currently no CMO empowered to operate in the country. And by extension, this also revokes the provincial licence handed to COSON. by the former Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Prof Adebambo Adewopo.

For a nation where right owners have lost billions in Naira since the copyright face off began in the early 90s, users have taken advantage of the practically nonexistent protective laws and their execution.
Our reporter recalled that MCSN had petitioned the Attorney General few weeks after the former NCC DG had announced in September 2010 the release of a CMO licence to COSON.

But the 18months life span that came with the licence was slashed to three by the AGF to enable COSON and MCSN seek solution to their conflict.

The licence expired on December 1, 2010, without mention made of a renewal, instead the warring parties were put on notice of the AGF’s plan to table the unresolved matter before WIPO.

Right now there is an uneasy calm in the industry as both parties await the WIPO date.


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