Lagos - The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) is pinning its hopes on the country’s justice system in its legal tussle with Lagos Oriental Hotel, which it has slapped with a hefty N500 million copyright infringement suit.
COSON Chairman, Tony Okoroji, was confident the courts would rule in the organisation’s favour.
“Contrary to the belief in some quarters, Nigeria is not a lawless country. Our laws work. We have gone to court to find out if Lagos Oriental Hotel is special and above Nigerian law,” said the COSAON executive.
He said unlike the Victoria Island-based Lagos Oriental Hotel, a number of hotels doing business across Nigeria were obeying the law and got authorisation for the music they deployed.
These, he said, were paying royalties for the deployment of the music.
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“It is my advice to all those who think that they can continue to get away with the illegal exploitation of the rights of musicians in Nigeria to think twice. COSON is not a toothless bull dog; we may bark hard but we bite even harder,” said Okoroji.
“For many months, we have used every available means to engage Lagos Oriental Hotel and its management on the requirement to pay for the use of music in their facility as is done everywhere in the world. Each time, we have met a brick wall. We believe in our courts and we are very interested in finding out if Nigerian laws will be turned upside down just for this set of people.”
In Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1091/15 filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, COSON is asking for the award of more than N500 million in unpaid royalties and damages for the unauthorized copying, communication to the public, permission to perform in public and infringement of the copyright in the musical works and sound recordings belonging to COSON members, affiliates and assignors.
According to COSON, in December 2014, it requested all musicians, music industry operatives and stakeholders in the creative sector to begin a boycott of the Lagos Oriental Hotel.
The decision, ratified by hundreds of COSON members, was predicated on the failure of Lagos Oriental Hotel to license its facilities for the use of musical works and sound recordings as required by law, despite repeated requests.
Comment could not be obtained from hotel officials.
- CAJ News