Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) is asking for N195 million (about 13 million Rand or 1.3 million US dollars) from Virgin Nigeria as payment for the airline's practice of offering music managed by MCSN to passengers aboard its in-country and long-haul flights. The amount was calculated by MCSN based on the number of flights flown by Virgin Nigeria over the past five years. [Afro-Leo (or at least this little Leo) isn't sure how music played on airlines usually works or how the suspension of long haul flights at the beginning of 2009 will affect the ability of MCSN to collect outside of Nigeria via its international partners. Perhaps a reader can offer information on how royalties usually work in this situation.]
"They cannot use copyrighted materials to promote their business and not pay for it. In their long haul flights, they play Nigerian music as well. The worse part of it is that the owners of this music are dying by the day, while they are making profit at their expense." - MCSN CEO, Mayo Ayilaran
While MCSN has completed a court-sanctioned raid of the Virgin Nigeria offices, the collective management society is also discussing plans to bring suit against several telecom companies in Nigeria. According to Mr. Ayilaran, the telecom companies do not pay royalties for the songs they offer as ring tones. Most of the cellular providers in Nigeria are part of international corporations who would probably have a particular division for handling licensing issues. This leaves Afro-Leo wondering if the problem isn't that the telecom companies aren't paying royalties, but rather that (like MTV-BASE in SA) they don't know who to pay due to the ongoing government/collecting societies feud in Nigeria.
Despite the unclear standing of MCSN, it's clear that the society intends to continue attempting to protect its members rights.
(Full story in The Punch here.)