Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), has filed a 10 billion Naira copyright infringement action against DAAR Communications Plc., owners of Ray Power FM, Faaji FM and Africa Independent Television (AIT) for infringement. That is, for playing of certain music without paying royalty to the artists that own the music
According to The Nation Newspapers: Chairman of COSON, Chief Tony Okoroji, said in a statement that his society is determined to increase the royalty distributable to stakeholders in the music industry to match the massive use of music in our nation.
He said DAAR Communication, which is Nigeria’s biggest privately owned broadcast network with stations scattered across the country has not been paying the Society for the music used on its broadcast platforms.
He described the suit No. FHC/L/CS/1392/13 filed on October 7, 2013 on behalf of COSON, at the Federal High Court, Lagos by Intellectual Property lawyer, Justin Ige, as the biggest known copyright infringement action ever in Africa.
In the action, COSON is asking for the sum of N724, 500, 000. 00 (Seven Hundred and Twenty Four Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) being amount due as royalties or license fees.
COSON is also asking for general and exemplary damages and a perpetual injunction restraining Ray Power FM, Faaji FM and Africa Independent Television (AIT) managed by Chief Raymond Dokpesi, their agents, privies or servants from further or other unauthorized copying, broadcast of musical works or sound recordings, belonging to the members, affiliates and assignors of COSON and/or infringement of the copyright in the musical works or sound recordings belonging to the members, affiliates and assignors of COSON.
Okoroji noted that in a similar vein, COSON, was compelled to institute several law suits against some users of music and sound recordings in Nigeria:
“This was after every attempt at moral suasion had failed. COSON had to go to court as a last resort. As you know, the court actions were productive. It however appears that old habits die hard. Some of the users may have gone back to their old ways and not all have learnt the lesson that the days of free music are gone in Nigeria forever''.