… Deejays Culpable Of Rights Infringement To Face Criminal Provisions Of Copyright Act – NCC
By Progress Godfrey, Abuja
The Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN), and Disc Jockeys under the umbrella body of Deejays Association of Nigeria, (DJAN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding under the watchful eyes of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
Delivering a remark at the event in Abuja on Monday, the Director-General of the NCC, Dr John Asien, said the MoU couldn’t have come at a better time as Nigeria’s creative industry is witnessing an unprecedented boom.
The DG who was represented by Director, Regulatory Department of the Commission, Mr Augustine Amodu, said having facilitated the initial dialogue and the negotiations leading up to MoU, the NCC was pleased with the maturity and exemplary conduct shown by both parties in arriving at the “win-win agreement.”
He however noted that a huge loss of revenue was recorded, attributable to poor rights management in a technology-driven space, while stressing the need for Collective Management Organaisations (CMOs) to pursue more collaborations to ease negotiation for royalties.
“As much as we celebrate these successes, we also acknowledge the huge losses of revenue attributable to poor rights management in an increasingly borderless and technology-driven digital environment. More avenues for accessing creative content are springing up on different platforms, disrupting traditional sales and licensing arrangements. While the collective management of rights remains a reliable system for guaranteeing that right owners benefit from the exploitation of their works, there is need to redefine the operational models in order to maximize the opportunities available. As representatives of right owners, Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) must seek collaborations and forge alliances with representatives of users to ease the negotiation, collection and distribution of royalties.”
“The Commission will continue to encourage CMOs to adopt modern business models and leverage on available technological solutions that would help them more efficiently deliver on their primary mandate for the ultimate benefit of their members. This has become even more imperative with multiple digital platforms and the blurring of lines between categories of works and mandates. In today’s digital copyright landscape where the media are more interactive and works are easily manipulated, technology will continue to play a more crucial role in delineating repertoire and tracking users, ” Asien said.
He added that Disc Jockeys (Deejays) are critical stakeholders in the copyright value chain as they also create content in the process of performing recorded music. “They often create remixes that also qualify as protectable copyright works. It is therefore in their interest that the collective management system works well to reward right owners.”
He, therefore, urged both parties to be faithful to the objectives and ultimate goals of the MoU.
“It is also important to mention that, as part of the Commission’s renewed drive to ensure respect for copyright and address all forms of copyright abuses, operatives will soon commence the enforcement of the criminal provisions of the Copyright Act against any Deejay who is found to be in infringement. To this end, we will be engaging with the DJAN to develop a regulatory framework and ensure that operators are properly accredited and identified when they carry out public performances. This is to bring sanity to their operations, promote professionalism and ensure total compliance with copyright rules, ” the DG further added.
In his remarks, the MD/CEO of Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN), Mayowa Anyilaran thanked the NCC which was the main driving force behind the milestone achieved for both creators and users in the creative industry. He described the understanding as tripartite: between the creators, the CMOs, the users’ association as well as the regulators.
“It is this spirit of win-win that has brought these kinds of negotiations into existence because the musicians who are the main owners of the work do not naturally want to see eye-to-eye with the Deejays because they believe that the Deejays have ganged up to take away their profession.” He said it took a lot of effort to make the musicians understand the importance of Deejays.
Agreeing with the DG NCC, Anyilaran said Deejays like: Neptune, Jimmy Jatt, Tunez, Cuppy and others have now become stakeholders in the creative industry through massive bodies of work they’ve put together, ruling the airwaves.
He, therefore, congratulated the president of DJAN for his relentless efforts in making the understanding come to life. “We believe that the success of the CMOs is also the success of the creative industry because when the creative industry is advancing, it means the regulators have done a very good job.”
The National President of Deejays Association of Nigeria (DJAN), Tade Adeyemi (aka DJ Kool), thanked the DG of NCC, Asien for his fatherly role and intervention in ensuring the milestone was achieved.
Recalling, he said, “After the first meeting we had with the team from the NCC, the perception they had about Deejays changed – they taught Deejays are just parasites feeding on other people’s jobs, not knowing that they the transporters of Nigerian Music and culture because there is nowhere in the world you go that you will not hear Nigerian Music. You might say people download and stream but they don’t play it in the public; it is the work of the Deejays and sometimes we even turn around the music.”
He said there is a lot of money in the entertainment industry, expressing optimism that considering the working relationship with the MCSN, Nigeria is going to reap the benefits.
He, therefore, assured the MCSN that Deejays around the country will not fail in keeping to the provisions of the MoU.