WHOSE INTEREST ARE YOU REPRESENTING?

It is common place in Nigeria for pressure groups like the Civil Rights Association, Society for Women Empowerment and other non-governmental organization to stand in for the interest of the people or a group of persons when the occasion calls. And it is also not rare to find in this same country some bodies who claim federal titles, proclaiming to represent the peoples interest. Hardly will a day pass by without the usual jingles on the radio about the Copy Rights Society of Nigeria (COSON). They claim that no music shall be deployed or played in any public centre, radio or television stations, night clubs, restaurants or bars, hotels et cetera without the appropriate license from them. They also cautioned that to avoid big time legal palaver, the above must be adhered to. But they also failed to qualify the term license and tell Nigerians through media chat or any other orientation channels how they intend the outcome of the granted license to be communicated to the various musicians concerned since they own the musical work. Rather, all they keep telling Nigerians is just the superficial aspect of it, never willing to reveal the undercurrent beneath.
If I am to interpret the word license in its contextual usage, it will mean the authorization granting a person or group of persons the right to deploy or play a particular or different kind of music after such money has been paid. Obviously, if it will not mean monetary attachment, then the jingles will mean that any one upon reasonable grounds can come obtain the permit to play music anywhere. And if this be the case, COSON wouldn’t have issued the jingles initially. If I am to stand on this interpretation, then the ambiguity created by that advert would have been clarified.
The music industry is regarded as a money-spinner in Nigeria. Considering the busy schedules of musicians; some in the studio working out their next smash-hit, others going for concert and other programmes for rendition and other meaningful musical venture that will enhance their profession, how then do they who even care less about whether their music is been played in one hotel, restaurant or bar receive the monetary benefits from COSON as their royalty? How does COSON intend to channel the monies evenly to those Nigerian musicians who are scattered all over and even beyond the country? Or does COSON intend opening a bank account for these musicians were the monies will be paid in their favor? I stand with COSON that permission should be sought before the playing of any music in public places but I split grounds with them on whether the full interest of these musicians will be represented. Will the so called license culminate into interest representation? Or who does COSON think they represent? Article (27)(2) of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) etch out that; ‘’everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author,’’ if the law can make this clear, why can’t COSON; a body claiming to protect the interest of Nigerian musicians and their music, take the pains to enlighten the people (who pay the royalty) on how indeed the collective interest of the Nigerian musicians will be represented.
  The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) of recent sued Airtel, Glo and MTN to court because of the poor service delivery to their users. They were claiming about N647.5 million from these network providers just to register their presence that they indeed represent the people’s interest. Whether the N647.5 million if granted them will be shared to the users of the various networks is a million dollar question.It seems as if COSON and the NCC have borrowed wings from our politicians. They are succeeding every day   in getting what they can, canning all they get and eventually sitting on the can. By hook or by crook, they keep parading themselves under the false color of interest representation, but let them not be quick to forget that Nigerians are fun loving people, quick to forget their difficulties and slow to forget that music is what makes them groove afterwards, but forget to remember that there is a restriction attached.

Davidson .I. Obabueki 

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