Friday, 30 January 2009

Nigerian Collecting Society Continues to Express Discontent with Copyright Commission

Those following copyright issues in Nigeria are probably familiar with the long-standing battle between Nigeria's collecting societies and the government agency in charge of copyright, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).  The Daily Independent recently interviewed the Director-General of Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN).  Here's a little synopsis of this perspective on the relations between MCSN and the NCC.  [Overview of the collecting society v. NCC battles here.   Update on the overview here.]

MCSN still has animosity towards the NCC, but Mr. Ayilaran, the DG of MCSN, repeatedly expressed his belief that the NCC Director-General is not at fault.  This is a slight shift from previous discussions on the relationship between the NCC and Nigeria's collecting societies.  Ayilaran describes the NCC as a  "stumbling block" for copyright owners and decries the lack of due process involved in piracy raids conducted by the government.  [NOTE: MCSN had one of these raids done on Virgin Nigeria, just days after giving this interview.]

One of the biggest challenges faced by MCSN: the government doesn't recognize copyright as private property, but instead sees it as "part of social public property."  Ayilaran described the government's proper role in copyright:

"The role of government is, if I, as a copyright owner, has [sic] an issue with a radio station which has been playing my music without paying me royalty, the role of the government, when I complain, is to back me up to collect my claim effectively from that radio station."

Although the collecting societies and government haven't worked out all their disagreements yet, MCSN continues to represent its members internationally and enjoys recognition from various copyright organizations, including PRS in the UK.

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