Things are looking good for the Nigerian music industry, as the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has concluded arrangements to overhaul the regulatory framework for collective management of copyright. This is to ensure transparency and accountability in the collection and distribution of royalties, in the interest of right owners.
Speaking at a webinar themed: “Introduction of IP Monitoring, Tracking and Royalty Distribution” and organised by the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) and BusinessDayNG to celebrate the World Music Day on Sunday June 21, 2020, the NCC Director General, Mr. John Asein revealed that the final report on the ongoing diagnostic study on Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) in Nigeria, being carried out by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in partnership with the Commission, would assist the Commission in its bid to fine-tune the CMOs’ operations for better service delivery.
While pointing out that the real success of a CMO is measured by the effectiveness of its collection and distribution function, verifiable through the simple rules of good governance, responsible leadership, efficiency, accountability and transparency, Asein emphasised the need for copyright administrators to change the way rights are managed in order to ensure that right owners, and not managers, are the ones enriched.
“The CMOs should assist right owners to earn every naira due to them through title-specific distribution of royalties, particularly in the field of music and not force them to take less under the guise of general distribution of royalties,” he said.
Explaining the possibility of this with the deployment of appropriate technology, the Director General enjoined CMOs “to embrace new business models and leverage on available technological solutions that would help them operate more efficiently and deliver on their primary mandate for the benefit of their members.”
During the webinar, the Chief Executive Officer of MCSN, Mr. Mayowa Ayilaran revealed that the CMO had adopted the use of an in-house technological application for tracking and monitoring the digital and analogue exploitation of musical works in Nigeria and the world in general, and also for facilitating efficient distribution of royalties.
In his response, the NCC Director General commended the new initiative of MCSN and noted that such solution had become imperative with the emergence of multiple digital platforms for exploitation of creative content, and the blurring of lines between categories of creative works.
He added that technology would play a crucial role in delineating the repertoire of the different CMOs and assist towards building alliances among them. “CMOs must be held to a high standard of accountability. The Commission would not sit back and watch funds of CMOs being treated as if they were private funds or wasted on self-serving programmes and projects that do not benefit members.”
Asein used the occasion of the World Music Day to reassure stakeholders of the renewed commitment of NCC to building synergies with the different sectors of the copyright industry, to achieve a stronger copyright system that works for the ultimate benefit of right owners.
He reaffirmed government policy on the approval of more than one CMO for a class of copyright owners in order to adequately protect the interests of right owners. “That has come to stay for now as the policy of government since a CMO cannot ‘adequately’ protect the interests of a class of copyright owners unless its managers run the CMO according to the law,” the DG stated.
Affirming the rights of individual copyright owners, the Director General cautioned that such does not derogate from the provisions empowering the Commission to carry out regulatory and oversight functions on CMOs under the Copyright Act. He then emphasised the need for all players to agree to be subject to the rule of law, noting that no CMO or person is immune from sanctions as prescribed under the law.