By Stanley Onyekwere
Owners of hotels, night clubs, restaurants and event venues in Abuja must brace up for a battle with Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON, as the nation’s sole collective management organization for musical works begins the full enforcement of the war against music copyright defaulters titled ‘Operation No Hiding Place”.
A COSON delegation led by the Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, was in Abuja for several days last week, to ensure that all the arrangements are solid and no stone left unturned to guarantee that no one who deploys music in a commercial or public space in Abuja escapes ‘Operation No Hiding Place’.
Speaking at a meeting with the President, Hotel Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA), Engr. Onofiok Ekong, in his Abuja office, Chief Okoroji said, “In December 2012, we signed a landmark agreement with the hotel industry to pay copyright royalties.
“While a good number of hotels and similar establishments have complied, there are those who want to continue with the brazen stealing of the intellectual property of innocent citizens.
“We have come to inform you that we have decided to end this lawlessness forthwith. We are deploying every tool under the law; and any recalcitrant organization that enters our net is assured that to get out, it will cost such an organization at least ten times the cost if it had simply complied with the agreement which you helped to negotiate.’’
Continuing, the former President of PMAN said, “COSON has spent substantial funds to organize several stakeholders’ forums in Abuja, during which we engaged music users in the FCT on the need to comply with the Copyright Act.
“We have taken the pains to be in Abuja because we mean business and we will stop at nothing within the confines of the law to ensure that every hotel, restaurant, broadcast station, club, bar and the likes in the Territory pay for the music they use.
“We have begun fully the enforcement of our war against music copyright defaulters in Abuja and no one will escape us”.
Responding, the HOFA President, Engr. Onofiok Ekong, who thanked the COSON delegation for the visit, however promised to use his office to get all members to comply with an agreement freely entered into with COSON. as it is for the greater good of the nation.