“Nigerian Copyright Laws And The Music Industry (The Add Up 1).” By J.A. Kester EsqArticles/Opinion Saturday, February 15th, 2014
Every Industry be it oil, telecoms, information technology, banking and the host of others are governed by Laws, providing room for an efficient, stable and properly regulated sector on behalf of the companies that are into the business of such. It pays to know that the activities of Shell, Globacom, Fedex, Procter & Gamble, Unilever etc contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria’s economy courtesy of trade, services they render and the public who make up the consumers.
The Music Industry is controlled by the Copyright Act enforced by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) who monitors all goings on of the industry. From the look of things with artists like Burna Boy, Wizkid, Solid Star heating up the charts and playlists, the list is endless, the industry is fast growing and behind every successful artist is a record company (in some cases, not all time though), who is in the business of creating music to be sold for commercial gain via Compact Discs (CD’s), digital platforms such as Spinlet for albums and singles downloads of the artists under the labels roster which generate income for the record companies(think Burna Boy and Aristokrat Records debut release “L.I.F.E. (Leaving an impact for eternity,a great album by the way),income in royalties for the artist from the sales of musical works on various formats for sale and music licensing agreements which entails getting endorsements by a mobile device manufacturing company who pays you a sum for your songs to be uploaded on a specific model of their smart phones.
The income is not limited to just that alone because within the music industry we have Music Publishing Companies, Collecting Societies such as COSON who perform duties under Section 39(1) of the Copyright Act on behalf of record companies and artists who are the copyright owners of the recorded music. Such duties which are;
i)To monitor how the work(recorded music) of the owners of the copyright is used.
ii) Entering into negotiations with prospective users of such works (companies who want to use the work as a soundtrack to their film or tv show or to endorse their products).
iii) Granting of licenses on the grounds of fees pre-arranged.
iv) Collecting the licensing fees and paying them to the various copyright owners of such rights.
In the face of piracy in the music industry amongst other forms of copyright infringement in the music industry, it is wise for those involved in the sector to note that though copyright laws, the Nigerian Copyright Commission and COSON are structures in place to protect their interests, such interests will be “ACCESS DENIED” if the record company is not incorporated via due compliance to the Corporate And Allied Matters Act 2004(CAMA) Laws of the Federation, the Copyright Act will not aid such a company , and neither will the Federal High Court dispense justice as it will lack and cannot exercise jurisdiction to hear the case the legally defective company aka lacking corporate personality brings and if the court does so, the judgment will be no different from the status of the company CAPITAL DJ for Defective Judgment which will be uploaded on set aside.com at a higher court with appellate jurisdiction to hear the matter and they won’t give judgment in the company’s favor.
On that note it is also important to orientate further that if the aggrieved party is not a Nigerian Citizen or domiciled in Nigeria, he/she cannot get judgment in their respective favor in a copyright issue as the 2 issues will rear its ugly head;
i)Not complying with the provisions of sections 25-28 of the 1999 Constitution which provides for various classes of Citizenship (not talking 1st or 2nd class here):Citizenship by birth, Citizen by registration, Citizen by naturalization, Dual Citizenship.
ii)As a result of not being recognized as a Corporation in Nigeria or even being a Citizen ,it will be painfully obvious that copyright claimed by that aggrieved person or company is not eligible for protection by the law, and the court enforcing it, as the aggrieved persons are not “qualified” in the eyes of the law as valid copyright owners to the infringed musical work.
The Music Industry is evolving no doubt but there’s still adequate room for improvements as we’re in the digital age aka Web 2.0 era where technology has altered our lifestyle choices and the entire corporate structure of the World economy. There is an urgent need to provide the strictest Criminal and Civil liability (ies) for music piracy and online piracy in the Copyright Act via amendments by the National Assembly.
In the same vein , online music sale platforms need to be set up to regulate as well as give statistics of all digital sales of albums, singles, videos and live performances,Spinlet is doing great in that aspect but remember in answer to ITUNES, there’s Tunecore,Rhapsody, Amazon.com, etc.
Till you read again, stays blessed and remember ignorance is a roadblock to the boulevard of bliss.
“A Person’s mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions. Man’s mind stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimension.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr (March 8 1841- March 6 1935) American Jurist.
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