NCC tells stations to take advantage of the law and inquire into how royalties are calculated.
The Nigerian Broadcast Commission, NBC, has pledged to intervene in the ongoing battle between Nigerian terrestrial television stations, and Nigerian musicians.
The Director General of the NBC, Emeka Mba, said his agency would intervene in the long-drawn tussle between the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, and the Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria, IBAN, on one side and Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, over payment of royalties for broadcast music.
Mr. Mba promised to intervene and find lasting solution to the matter.
He was speaking in reaction to a statement issued by BON/IBAN that the music of a large number of Nigeria’s top artistes have been banned from being broadcast on stations run by the members of BON and IBAN with immediate effect.
There was outrage at Protea Hotel, Ikeja on Tuesday, December 4 at the ANCOP-FIAPF Film Forum organised by Association of Nollywood Core Producers, ANCOP, and International Federation of Film Producers Associations when the development became public, with many of the participants asking for the immediate reaction of the NBC boss to the development.
Explaining that every broadcast station in Nigeria was bound by the music quota provided in the broadcast code, Mr. Mba said that, based on the long list of Nigerian artistes affected by the purported ban by BON and IBAN, he did not see how the stations could meet their local content obligations and that such a situation was of serious concern to the NBC.
Article 184.108.40.206 of the Broadcast code issued by NBC says, “For the purpose of free-to-air broadcast, Nigerian music shall constitute 80 per cent of all music broadcast.”
Mr. Mba assured that a joint effort would be made by the NBC and the Nigerian Copyright Commission, NCC, to resolve the issues.
The BON/IBAN press release was read to the participants made up mostly of motion picture industry practitioners and copyright experts by COSON Chairman, Tony Okoroji, who started by saying, “Nigeria has just made history.”
Mr. Okoroji said that the development was the first in human history were all the top artistes of any nation would be banned from the airwaves. He insisted that if the sad action was a way to blackmail COSON for taking some broadcast stations, who believe that they are above the law, to court for copyright infringement, then, he was willing to lay down his life in the defence of the rights of creative people in Nigeria.
The NCC Zonal Manager in Lagos, Chris Nkwocha, who represented the NCC DG, said COSON was the nation’s sole approving collecting society for music; and anyone who broadcast music was obligated under the law to pay copyright fees for such broadcast.
He also said that where there was a dispute on the amount of money to be paid as copyright royalties, any of the broadcast station unhappy with what was being demanded of them had the right to apply to the NCC to set up a panel to review the fees under the Copyright (Collective Management Organisation) Regulations 2007. He therefore called on the broadcast stations to take advantage of the provision of the regulations and quickly resolve the matter.
The long list of COSON members banned by BON and IBAN included TuFace Idibia, D’ Banj, Inyanya, Olamide, Dr Sid, Sammie Okposo, Banky W, WizKid, Olu Maintain, 9ice, Sunny Neji, Flavour, Chidinma, Rugged Man, Keffee, Midnite Crew, Eldee De Don, M I, Azeezat, Jazzman Olofin, Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, Kcee etc.