It was a big win for COSON at the Federal High Court, Benin. Monday, December 14, 2015 was a day of celebration at the Ikeja headquarters of Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s sole collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings as news came through that the Honourable Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Benin has thrown out the case brought against COSON by Disc & Cassette Dealers Association of Nigeria.
Disc & Cassette Dealers Association of Nigeria and some of its members had in 2014 gone to court seeking among other reliefs a perpetual injunction restraining COSON and its agents from harassing, intimidating, arresting or otherwise interfering in any manner whatsoever with the Claimants’ right to play musical works for the sole purpose of their retail trade.
The Claimants also sought a perpetual injunction restraining COSON and its agents from demanding any levy from the claimant’s membership except as determined and gazetted by the minister.
Furthermore, the Claimants asked from the court a declaration that COSON and its agents not being copyright inspectors cannot legally arrest and detain the Claimant’s members for any alleged infringement of the Copyright Act. They equally sought a declaration that the arrest, detention and prosecution of the Claimants by the agents of COSON are illegal and unlawful.
In the suit, the Claimants went further to ask for an order requiring COSON to refund all the levies collected from the claimants’ members for playing musical works in their retail trade business. They also demanded the sum of 10 million naira as damages for the ‘harassment, arrest, disruption of business and detention of the Claimants and illegal collection of dues from them’
Rejecting the reliefs sought by the Claimants, Justice Liman in his judgment held that COSON is empowered under the Copyright Act and the Copyright Collective Management Regulations to collect royalties on behalf of right owners for the use of music in business places or places of entertainment including retail shops. He also held that the Nigerian Police, the 4th Defendants in the case, have the legal responsibility to arrest and prosecute Copyright violators in line with the provisions of the Copyright Act and other laws of the land and that private individuals can report any crime including copyright violations to the Police and can also arrest and handover to a police officer anyone committing a crime.
Big Win For COSON
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