In compliance with the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice’s directive, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has finally issued an approval to operate as a Collecting Management Organization (Collecting Society) to the Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN).
In the letter dated April 3, 2017, reference NCC/DG/074/X11/574 and signed by the Director General of the NCC, Mr. Afam Ezekude, which was received at MCSN offices on 7th April 2017, the Commission referred to the directive of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, of 22nd March 2017 pursuant to Section 50 of the Copyright Act, Cap C28, LFN 2004 to convey the Commission’s approval to MCSN to operate as a collective management organisation for musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria.It would be recalled that MCSN had in 2009 applied to the NCC for it to be approved as collecting management organization but the Commission in a letter dated May 20, 2010 refused MCSN’s application without giving any reason. The refusal infuriated MCSN, which approached the Federal High Court to quash the decision. MCSN also approached the National Assembly which directed its joint committees on Justice and Judiciary to look into the matter. The Joint Committees conducted an investigative Public Hearing at which it was established that MCSN was unjustly refused approval and the National Assembly passed series of resolutions, one of which was the directive to the NCC to approve/license MCSN to operate as a collecting society forthwith. The NCC however refused to carry out the National Assembly’s directive.
With the coming of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, MCSN once again took its complaint to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who after another round of investigation agreed with the findings and resolution of the National Assembly and directed the NCC to “issue with immediate effect, an approval by way of license to the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd/Gte (MCSN) to operate as a collecting society for the purpose of the Copyright Act.
The NCC’s compliance would apparently bring a crisis which has ravaged the copyright sector for more than 25 years to an effective end and the sector can now start to deliver the full dividends of creativity to the individual musicians, artistes, writers, producers, citizens at large and the Government.