COSON SUIT AGAINST NCC HAS NOT BEEN TRIED,STRUCK OUT NOR DISMISSED

Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s biggest Copyright Collective Management Organization has issued a statement signed by its General Counsel and Head of Legal, Barrister Simi Wash-Pam. The statement reads as follows:

It must now be obvious to the general public that a group made up of the controversial MCSN, Pretty Okafor, a well-known judgment debtor to the COSON Chairman and some officials of the present regime are frustrated with the failure of their never-ending attempt to destroy or pocket Nigeria’s biggest and most successful copyright collective management organization, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), with thousands of members spread across Nigeria

The lawyers, board and members of COSON remain firm and determined that COSON which was set up for the welfare of musicians across Nigeria and to cushion their suffering will not be turned into the private ATM of a small group of people.

The latest gambit of the group is to spread the fake news that COSON is presently operating unlawfully. Earlier, the same group had been all over social media with another fake news that COSON had ceased to exist when anyone can go to the magnificent COSON House in Ikeja and witness the bubbling activities in the sparkling edifice.

We wish to bring to the notice of the general public that while COSON has filed a Notice of Appeal in the interlocutory decision in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/425/2020, between COSON and the Nigerian Copyright Commission, the suit has not been tried, struck out nor dismissed. The prayers of COSON remain live issues before the Court and there is no way that COSON can be said to be operating unlawfully without the issues being determined. Indeed, in a ruling by the Court striking out an application by MCSN to be joined in a suit filed by COSON, the court described MCSN as “a restless interloper and a vexatious intervener”.

Lawyers to COSON have also written to the NCC drawing their attention to the well-established doctrine of “Lis Pendes” forbidding anyone from taking any action which will overreach a court or impose a fait accomplice or a situation of helplessness on a Court.

The general public should be left with no doubt that Nigeria remains a democratic society and that COSON, its members and lawyers are determined and fully ready to pursue their matters and all the injustice unleashed on them by the group to each matter’s logical conclusion. For the avoidance of doubt, COSON is working.

For those interested, the prayers of COSON which remain live issues in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/425/2020, are as follow:

a. A DECLARATION that the provision in the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007 by which the Defendant has assumed the power to unilaterally suspend the licence of an approved Collecting Society without an order of court, is undemocratic, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

b. A DECLARATION that the provision in the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007 by which the Defendant has assumed the power to unilaterally revoke the licence of an approved Collecting Society without an order of court, is undemocratic, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

c. A DECLARATION that the provision in the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007 requiring an approved collecting society to apply to the Nigerian Copyright Commission to renew its licence is undemocratic, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

d. A DECLARATION that the provision in the Copyright (Collective Management Organizations) Regulations 2007 by which the Defendant has assumed the power to order the audit of a Copyright Collective Management Organization without the authorization of the society’s Annual General Meeting and without a court order is undemocratic, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

e. A DECLARATION that the directive by the Defendant without an order of court that the bank accounts of the Plaintiff be frozen is ultra vires the powers of the Defendant, illegal, unlawful, null and void.

f. A DECLARATION that by the provisions of Section 44 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the decisions of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in SC 425/2010 (MCSN v. CDT & 2 Ors) and SC. 336/2008 (Adeokin Records & Alhaji Saka Alagbada v. MCSN), the Defendant cannot lawfully prevent the Plaintiff, an owner, assignee and exclusive licensee of copyright, from legally enforcing its intellectual property rights and those of its members.

g. A PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Defendant, its officers, agents, servants or privies from relying on the provisions of the Copyright Collective Management Organizations Regulations 2007 and taking any steps purporting to revoke the operating licence/ approval of the Plaintiff or in any way or manner disturbing/continuing to disturb or preventing/continuing to prevent the Plaintiff from lawfully enforcing the constitutional rights of its members, affiliates, assignees and reciprocal representation partners or interfering/continuing to interfere with the internal management, operations, funds, audits or bank accounts of the Plaintiff or disturbing/continuing to disturb or preventing/continuing to prevent the Plaintiff, its members, affiliates, assignees and reciprocal representation partners from earning income and sustaining themselves with their Intellectual Property, without an order of court.

h. Damages in the sum of N8,000,000,000.00 (Eight Billion Naira Only) for the undemocratic, unlawful and unconstitutional suspension of the approval and operating licence of the Plaintiff and the unlawful directive that the bank accounts of the Plaintiff be frozen.

i. Damages in the sum of N2,000,000,000.00 (Two Billion Naira Only) for the significant loss of Reputation and Goodwill suffered by the Plaintiff and arising from the massive publicity sustained by the Defendant against the Plaintiff following the undemocratic, unlawful and unconstitutional suspension of the approval and operating licence of the Plaintiff and the unlawful directive that the bank accounts of the Plaintiff be frozen.

j. Cost of the action in the sum of Ten Million Naira only (Ten Million Naira only)

k. Interest on all damages and cost awarded at 15% per annum from the date of the award until the award is paid.

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