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NCC Asks COSON to Comply with Directives or Face Sanctions

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Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has asked the Governing Board of the Copyright Society of Nigeria, (COSON) to comply with its directives regarding the disputed chairmanship of the organisation or face sanction.

 

This was contained in a statement signed by Afam Ezekude, director general of the NCC, and made available to newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday.

 

According to the NCC boss, the Commission had earlier directed the management of COSON as follows:

 

“a. Not to give effect to resolutions taken at the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 19th December, 2017, except the resolution on distribution of royalties to members, which was within the legitimate process of the meeting;

 

  1. To convene its annual General meeting (AGM) within 60 working days and elect Directors/Governing Board in line with the provisions of its articles of association; taking into account the relevant articles in respect of qualification of directors;

 

  1. To appoint a competent Professional who shall henceforth be the Company Secretary/Secretary of the Governing Board.”

 

Ezekude said: “the Commission has also noted with concern that its directive issued to the Management of COSON in respect of the purported resolutions at the Extraordinary General meeting held on December 19, 2017 has not been complied with by management of COSON.

 

“Instead, some members of COSON have taken to social media platforms to peddle falsehood as well as other negative campaign against the person of the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Mr. Afam Ezekude.”

 

The statement further reads: “The development in its entirety does not augur well for the development of copyright administration in Nigeria. Aside undermining the efficient administration of COSON, the development affects right owners who may as a result be denied their legitimate royalties and sound protection of their rights.

 

“The ongoing rivalry in the COSON Board, will, without any doubt, hamper its effective performance on its primary mandate of licensing and collecting royalties. The essence of collective management is to bring the benefit of the copyright system to right owners.

 

“Moreover, as COSON is also a member of a number of international copyright organizations, the situation will not only expose COSON, but the entire Nigerian Copyright system to ridicule and embarrassment.

 

“The main function of COSON as a collective management organization is to negotiate and issue licenses to users of musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria, collect royalties (money) for such licenses and distribute the monies collected to the owners of copyright in the works which it manages. The monies that COSON collects belong to owners of copyright in music and sound recordings who are both Nigerians and foreign right owners. COSON is accordingly in a position of trust vis-à-vis its members.

 

“As a result of this unique status, the Copyright Act, Chapter C 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Copyright (Collective Management Organization) Regulation 2007 make extensive provisions to regulate the operations of organizations that operate as collective management organizations, including COSON.

 

“As a responsible agency of government, with a clear mandate under the law, the Commission will not allow unnecessary rivalry and personality clashes, which seemingly fuelled the present conflict at COSON, to interfere with the rights of Nigerian Creators to have their rights managed in a transparent and credible manner. Consequently, the Commission shall take appropriate steps to ensure that the directive given to management of COSON is duly implemented.”

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StarTimes Boosts Nigerian Economy with $220m Investment, Pays $25m Tax

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StarTimes, a direct-to-home pay-tv service said it has invested over $220 million in Nigeria, in the last eight years to boost entertainment and enrich the country’s television viewers’ experiences.

 

Mr. Joshua Wang, who represented the CEO of NTA-STAR TV, said Startimes commenced operation in 2010 in Nigeria through NTA-Star TV, adding that it has actively promoted leading Chinese programmes in local languages, like Hausa and Yoruba.

 

Wang, a director of the organisation, stated this in Abuja at the celebration of Chinese Film Festival and cinema show of the “Operation Red Sea Movie”.

 

He said, “So far, we have invested $220m in Nigeria, developed a network of nearly 3,000 distributors in the country, and developed around four million subscribers. We are actively involved in corporate social responsibility and have paid a total of $25m in tax, recruited more than 1,300 local staff, 97 per cent of whom are Nigerians.”

 

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, represented by Grace Isu Gekpe, permanent secretary, said, “Cultures are what make countries unique. I believe we will understand each other’s culture better if we have the opportunity to watch movies from both cultures.”

 

Mr. Lin Jing, Charge d’affair of the Chinese Embassy to Nigeria pledged that the Chinese Government is committed to the agreements reached with Nigeria and other African countries to bring rapid development to the continent.

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NCC Reaffirms Suspension of COSON’s Operating License

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Mr. Afam Ezekude, director general of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), has reaffirmed to stakeholders and the general public that the Operating License of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (Ltd/Gte) (COSON) is and remains suspended until further notice.

Mr. Afam Ezekude disclosed this while responding to recent social media publications made by COSON claiming that the Federal High Court had ordered the NCC to suspend all actions, proceedings and processes relating to the suspension of its license and the freezing of its bank account.

He stressed that the commission has not been served with any order of the Federal High Court as regards the suspension of the operating license of COSON, and is not aware of any such order.

The DG noted that the said publication did not disclose the particulars of the case in which the Order was made such as, the suit number of the case; the Judge of the Federal High Court that made the order nor the date that the order was made and therefore urged stakeholders and the general public to disregard COSON’s claims.

Speaking further, Mr. Ezekude disclosed that following the suspension of COSON’s operating license by the Commission in April 2018, some members of COSON instituted an action in suit No.FHC/EN/CS/58/2018 at Enugu division of the Federal High Court against the Commission and some of its officials challenging the suspension of the operating license of COSON.

In a preliminary objection to the suit filed by the Commission, the court presided over by Justice Liman struck out the Commission as a party in that case on June 11, 2018. No order was made against the Commission.

Similarly, a case was instituted by some members of COSON purporting to act on behalf of the society in suit No. FHC/L/CS/6006/18 (Copyright Society of Nigeria & Ors Vs Efe Omoregbe & 7 Ors) at the Lagos division of the Federal High Court with the Commission listed as a defendant in the case.

The matter which is currently pending before Justice Seidu has been adjourned to September 26, 2018. No order has so far been made against the Commission in that case.

By virtue of the suspension which is still in force, the DG, reiterates that COSON is not entitled to carry out any functions of a Collecting Society; to wit; soliciting, negotiating for copyright license; or collecting royalties for and on behalf of owners of Copyright in Music and Sound Recordings; until otherwise determined.

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Again, Court Rules Against Multichoice Over Tariff Hike

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A judge, Nnamdi Dimgba, in Abuja has rejected an appeal by Multichoice Nigeria against an interim order prohibiting any increase in its DStv or GOtv subscription rates.

Multichoice Nigeria had on August 24 filed an appeal against the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja stopping it from increasing the subscription rates to its cable television services. The order was given on August 20.

The restraining order was issued in respect of Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/894/18 brought before the court by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) in the light of the public outcry raised.

In his order, Mr Dimgba said the interim injunction restrains Multichoice Nigeria or its agents and representatives from “continuing the implementation of any increase in subscription rates or price review policy imposing increased charges and costs on the consumers pending the determination of the motion on notice.”

Besides, the court also restrained DSTV from “further carrying on or continuing any conduct or activity which interferes with or has effect of circumventing the outcome of ongoing investigations by the CPC into the company’s compliance or non-compliance with the February 16, 2016 order pending the determination of the motion on notice”.

When the appeal was made, the CPC explained that the order stopping implementation of the new tariffs will subsist till the appeal has been heard and ruling given by the court.

This means that the subscription tariffs for Dstv and Gotv ought not to have increased but consumers have been paying the increased tariffs since August.

Under the new price regime, the company said the Premium package subscribers pay about 7.5 per cent more (about N15,800) from about N14,700 every month.

Also, their Compact Plus customers still pay N10,650, from N9,900; Compact bouquets, N6,800, from N6,300, while the family package was increased from N3,800 to N4,000, with Access from N1,900 to N2,000

On Monday, during the court hearing, the judge also refused the application by MultiChoice to adjourn the matter indefinitely.

When asked of the measures taken to ensure Multichoice’s compliance, Babatunde Irukera, director general, CPC, said CPC still holds the position that consumers should be paying the old tariff.

“However, the council’s understanding is that Multichoice is not complying with that order of court so that’s why it was important for the court to agree to clarify the situation,” he said.

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