Broadcasting organisations in Nigeria have resolved to remit all royalties for musical works and sound recordings broadcast by their stations to the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the government approved collecting society in respect of this category of copyright.
This resolution was part of agreements reached at the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) by COSON, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), the Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN) as coordinated by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
COSON and some broadcasting organisations had disagreement on payment of royalties for the broadcast of musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria which resulted in several court cases.
Following the disagreement, BON and IBAN made announcements on November 27, 2013 directing their member stations to suspend broadcast of musical works and sound recordings of several Nigerian artistes who are members of COSON.
In an effort to resolve the conflict, a team of officials of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC led by its Director General, Mr. Emeka Mba, and a representative of the Director General of Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude, met with officials of COSON, led by its chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, on December 12, 2013, at the NBC office in Lagos.
The same team also met with officials of BON, led by Mr. Olusegun Olaleye and officials of IBAN, led by Mr. Osa Sunny Adun on December 13, 2013 which culminated into several meetings and the signing of a MOU on May 19, 2014.
The parties' agreement was witnessed by the chief mediator/ chairman of the joint committee on tariff structure for musical royalties, Mr. O. Mac Emakpore; Director-General, NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude and the Director-General, NBC, Mr. Emeka Mba.
They agreed that all broadcasting organisations in Nigeria shall pay copyright royalties for musical works and sound recordings broadcast by their stations and that COSON is the only collecting society approved to negotiate and receive royalties for the broadcast of musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria and the issue licenses for such usage.
It was also agreed that all broadcasting organisations in Nigeria shall pay royalties for the broadcast of all musical works and sound recordings by their stations to COSON.
In accordance with Section 220.127.116.11(b) of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and for the purpose of royalties, a broadcaster shall maintain an accurate log of every music it broadcast and retain same for at least three months.
Other agreements reached are that a new tariff structure for the broadcast of music on terrestrial broadcast stations in Nigeria has been created taking into consideration the different zones in the country and the differences between commercial, public and community broadcasting.
The basis of the tarrif is that all musical works and sound recordings, without exception, will be made available to all broadcasting organisations in Nigeria to use without let. The new tariff is contained in Schedule 1 to the memorandum.
To enhance and encourage the respect for intellectual property rights while taking into consideration the economic challenges faced by broadcasters, all free to air broadcasting stations in Nigeria shall make effective payment for music copyright royalties for the period beginning from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015 in accordance with the tariff contained in scheduled 1 of the memorandum.
Stations shall have the option to pay the royalties annually or in four equal quarterly installments. An annual payment shall be due on the 1st of January of every year while the quarterly payment shall be due on the first day of the applicable quarter.
Upon signing of this memorandum, all broadcast stations shall immediately make a minimum payment of royalties already due for the 1st and 2nd quarter royalties for 2014.
There shall be no refund, by either side, for any royalties payment to COSON prior to the 2014 agreement, irrespective of whether the amount paid was higher or lower than the tariff agreed in this memorandum as provided in schedule 1 herein.
Broadcast stations that have not paid royalties for works used for any period between May 2010 and December 31, 2013 shall not be exempted from such payment.