The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and the Independent Broadcasters’ Association of Nigeria (IBAN) banned the airplay of some selected Nigerian musicians over payment of royalties as demanded by the Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON. Some of the artistes affected by the ban include
The PMAN, in a statement by its interim president, Kevin Lucciano, asked all parties involved to dialogue and resolve the controversy.
The association also called for the lifting of the ban describing it as unfair, demeaning and discouraging.
“The ban on airplay of these Nigerian artistes and their music on various Nigerian media platforms is from our standpoint very unfair, demeaning and discouraging.
“We all know without a doubt that these same artistes who have persevered and assisted us to build, today what is known as the Nigerian music industry, Africa’s biggest entertainment export to the world are the same people that are now being victimized,” the association said.
“With this action, the association foresees a situation where this ban will, rather than encourage well meaning members of the society, with musical talent to hone their craft and join the success story of the entertainment industry, reverse will be the case.
“We also foresee a situation where the bulk of the material that will be circulated on Nigerian airwaves will be foreign materials, celebrating alien artistes instead of embracing, home grown talent and our cultural heritage”.
In his reaction, entertainment lawyer, Demilade Olaosun, said the ban is as a result of what BON termed “COSON’s attitude of antagonism and harassment under the leadership of Tony Okoroji (COSON Chairman)”.
He explained that COSON has insisted that it is very well within its rights as a collecting society, to which very many Nigerian artistes have assigned copyrights in their works, to seek out royalties from entities exploiting them and make returns on such royalties received.
He said that the promotional activities of some artistes wherein they pay some radio stations to facilitate a heavy rotation of their music on air may have led some of these stations to have the erroneous perception that they are in fact doing the industry a favour by playing these works and this should therefore exempt them from paying royalties.
The lawyer said that the payment by these artistes to secure airplay is entirely different from COSON’s brief to secure royalty payments on the works being exploited; as it is a statutory requirement that an author of a work must obtain some benefit from the exploitation of the works by a third party.
Demilade further said although BON/IBAN have the right to control the content they air, they must with the terms of their broadcasting license which mandates a minimum of 60 per cent local broadcast content for open television and 80 per cent local broadcast content for radio; while cable/satellite retransmission stations are mandated to reflect a minimum of 20 per cent local content in their programming. He believes that indigenous music constitute a large part of what makes up the local content and it must be accorded the value it deserves.
He concluded by calling on the National Broadcasting Commission to, in furtherance of its statutory duties, regulate and control the broadcast industry, uphold the principles of equity and fairness in broadcasting, and promoting Nigerian indigenous culture.