Music Stakeholders, Copyright Commission Collaborate On Creative Industries Growth

At a music stakeholders’ meeting,DG, NCC, Mr. John Asein (M) addressingRegional Coordinator, IFPI, Mr. Rob Hooijer(4th L); and(Left-Right)Director, Prosecution, NCC, Mr. Obi Ezeilo; representative of Universal Music Nigeria, IsiomaIdigbe; Mr. MichaelUgwu, of Sony Music Entertainment; Director, Legal Services, NCC, Abdul Ter Kohol Esq; Director, Finance and Accounts, Mr. Mark Obasi; Director, Administration, Dr. IdowuOgunkuade; Director, Regulatory, Mr. BitrusDauda; Director, Planning Research and Statistics, Mr. Mike Akpan

Development partners and other stakeholders in the music industry have expressed their interest in collaborating with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) for effective regulation of music exploitation, especially in the digital environment in Nigeria.

The Regional Coordinator of the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Mr. Rob Hooijer, made the disclosure when he led a delegation of music stakeholders on a consultative visit to the Director-General of NCC, Mr. John Asein in Abuja on recently just as he added that the music industry stakeholders would support the renewed drive by the Commission to revitalise the creative industries.

According to Hooijer, there was need for adequate legislative and administrative frameworks to better regulate the distribution and exploitation of music online. He urged Government to implement the Copyright Levy Order that was made in 2012 to benefit the creative industry.

Also on the delegation were the General Manager, Sony Music West Africa, Mr. Michael Ugwu; representative of Universal Music Nigeria, Ms Isioma Idigbe and the Licensing Officer, Mavin Records, Mr. Olayemi Oladapo.

The IFPI Regional Coordinator cautioned that fragmentation of rights management organisations was not in the interest of the industry. He called collective management organisations (CMOs) in Nigeria to be guided by global best practices in their operations and underscored the need for an appropriate policy to streamline national and international regulations and avert double taxation in tariffs and royalty payments.

The Director-General of NCC, in his remarks, assured that the Commission would be proactive in its interventions to address the needs of right holders and promote the development of the creative industries.

Mr. Asein stressed that the Commission was committed to the Federal Government’s development strategy detailed in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), by applying its principle on ease of doing business for sustainable development of copyright based industries.

According to him, the Commission in its bid to check digital piracy of copyright works, requires the technical input of IFPI and other relevant stakeholders to develop the best protocol for regulation and enforcement.

He indicated that the Commission was committed to the early implementation of the Copyright Levy Order for the benefit of all stakeholders.

The Director-General said while the Commission was committed to a regulatory environment that upholds good governance in collective administration of rights, the authority of the Commission as a regulatory agency must be respected in order to safeguard the interests of right owners and avoid chaos in the industry.

He underscored the need to explore dialogue in resolving issues between CMOs and users, advising that court litigation should be an option of last resort since the cost of litigation would invariably impact on the distributable funds available to members and right owners.

The GM of Sony Music West Africa, Mr. Ugwu had pointed out the need for the Commission to acquire the needed resources and technical knowhow to cope with the emerging challenges on
the online environment. “Our presence here shows we are willing to work together with NCC for the good of the industry,” he added.

Representative of Universal Records, Ms Idigbe said while stakeholders were willing to support the Commission, there was a need for legislative measures to facilitate speedy and effective protection of copyright in the country.

The Licensing Officer of Mavin Records, Mr. Mr. Oladapo urged the Commission to devise technical strategies to enable it take down pirated materials on the Internet, adding that there was need for improved public enlightenment and regulatory interventions to facilitate the work of the Commission.

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