Copyright judgement: MCSN, MultiChoice settle rift

It’s the dawn of a new day for the Nigerian music industry as the Musical Copyright Society Nigeria Ltd/Gte (MCSN) finally reached an amicable settlement with Multichoice Nigeria on the judgements it secured against the latter.
In recent times, MCSN had secured different judgements against Multichoice both at the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal for the broadcast and distribution of musical works in the repertoire of the collection society on all Multichoice channels within Nigeria. The settlement also covers other exploitations of MCSN’s repertoire on other sister platforms of Multichoice up to December 31, 2020.

Having attained this milestone, MCSN and Multichoice Nigeria now see each other as sister organisations that must work for the success of the other, particularly in the area of exploitation of and remuneration for intellectual works, notably musical works, sound recordings and ancillary works.

However, since the information of settlement and subsequent payment by Multichoice filtered out, MCSN has been receiving inquiries and, in most cases, outright demand for a share of the settlement money. But then, MCSN’s CEO, Mayo Ayilaran, has assured members that due process is being followed in dealing with the issue. According to him, MCSN’s management would make a formal report of the outcome of the settlement to its relevant authorities, particularly the Board of Directors and Members’ General Meeting through formal communications and meetings.

Ayilaran further explained: “Management would then make proposals to the bodies on how the money should be allocated in line with best practices, all which is still an ongoing process. Since the settlement and payment were recorded in the course of the year 2021, MCSN would draw a line between which years should what particular payment fall in and deal accordingly.

“For instance, MCSN has to determine what allocation would be made to each year from 2006 and who benefits from whatever distribution allocated to each year; from which all MCSN’s members and international affiliate societies would certainly benefit. One thing which MCSN has made clear and which its Board agrees with is that all liabilities from the past would not be loaded on and borne by this single payment, as this settlement is purely an opening for more past, present and future incomes.
“MCSN would, therefore, want to assure everyone that any and everyone who has any contractual, legal or even moral claim to the payment would certainly be paid, without any form of sentiment, emotion or blackmail. Those who have genuine stakes and claim in MCSN should have their fingers crossed and await development. It is hereby directed that all members who have registered and been admitted into the membership of the Society since 2006 should update their records, particularly their bank details with the Society, as the Society have migrated away from cheque and cash payments.”




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