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problems associated with individual

Anarchy

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pursuit of one’s artistic and creative works. A Collecting Society may be defined as a representative association consisting of various copyright owners who, for an agreed fee, have Society authorised to the Collecting maximally

Collecting Societies in Nigeria: Implications Copyright Protection of Foreign and Local Musical Works (part 1) January 2009 Volume 22 Issue 1
The Nigerian Copyright Act of 1988 is perhaps the greatest achievement of the Tony Okoroji-led Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN). Against grave odds and risks to their personal safety, the PMAN executive succeeded in persuading the regime of exPresident Ibrahim Babangida to enact a modern copyright law in Nigeria. Although the Copyright Act of 1988 (first amended in 1990) did not provide for Collecting Societies, the subsequent amendment in 1992 was the first statutory provision for the establishment of Collecting Societies of both local and international artistes. Prior to 1992, musicians and other artistes whose works required copyright protection were left to their own individual abilities to assert and defend their intellectual property rights. Membership in a Collecting Society is one veritable means of mitigating the

administer their intellectual proprietary rights in accordance with the statutes and procedures of the country where the Collecting Society resides. The emergence of a legislative

framework for collecting societies was not fortuitous. By the 1990s, new forms technology that facilitate copying and distribution Nigeria. of musical the as works at for is minimal costs had become ubiquitous in Indeed, such argument Nigeria’s Collecting Societies in under-developed economies unassailable. Few artistes or copyright owners however have the national or global network, managerial and administrative expertise and resources of ensuring that their products/works are maximally distributed without the problems of non-payment of royalties and piracy of their works. It cannot be gainsaid that Collecting Societies help members keep better vigil over their work. In addition, they help

©Blackfriars LLP 2008. All rights reserved. This document is for general guidance only. Definitive advice should be sought from counsel if required. Blackfriars LLP is a Nigerian law firm with a representative office in Toronto, Canada.

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to obtain more royalties for the use of members’ works and also enter into reciprocal agreements with similar collecting societies in other countries across the world. For consumers, collecting societies make obtaining licenses easier and less expensive and encourage compliance amongst users. At the enforcement level, Collecting Societies are more formidable in vindicating the rights alone of in their their members than would be the case if such members fought individuals capacities. Sadly, however, for over ten years now, the world of musical Collecting Societies in Nigeria has been sundered by litigation, government intervention, and bickering among divisions of musicians. Perhaps, the root of this anarchy is the well-intended but misguided provisions of the Copyright Act itself. Section 32 (B) of the Nigerian Copyright Act provides for the creation of Collecting Societies. The said provides states thus: (1) “A collecting society (in this section referred to as "a Society") may be formed in respect of any one or more rights of copyright owners for the benefit of such owners, and the society may apply may apply to the Commission for approval to operate

as a collecting society purpose of this Act.

for

the

(2) The Commission may approve a Society if it is satisfied that(a) it is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee; (b) its objects are to carry out the general duty of negotiating and granting copyright licenses and collecting royalties on behalf of copyright owners and distributing same to them, (c) it represents a substantial number of owners of copyright in any category of works protected by this Act; in this paragraph of this subsection, "owners of copyright" includes owners of performers rights; (d) it complies with the terms and conditions prescribed by regulations made by the Commission under this section. (3) The Commission shall not approve another Society in respect of any class of copyright owners if it is satisfied that an existing approved society adequately protects the interests of that class of copyright owners... (to be continued).

For further inquiries, please contact: Ms. Nkeiru Onyeaso Tel: +234 808 718 0833 Email: Nkay@blackfriars-law.com Fax: +234 1 2694781

©Blackfriars LLP 2008. All rights reserved. This document is for general guidance only. Definitive advice should be sought from counsel if required. Blackfriars LLP is a Nigerian law firm with a representative office in Toronto, Canada.

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Dr. Virtus Igbokwe Tel: +234 802 220 4755 Email: Virtus@blackfriars-law.com Fax: +234 1 2694781 Ms. Clara Ndive Email: Clara@blackfriars-law.com Tel: +234 803 323 1868 Fax: +234 1 2694781

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©Blackfriars LLP 2008. All rights reserved. This document is for general guidance only. Definitive advice should be sought from counsel if required. Blackfriars LLP is a Nigerian law firm with a representative office in Toronto, Canada.

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