COSON – Copyright Society of Nigeria has released a press statement on her law suite against the telecom giant in Nigeria – MTN. Read the press release below.
Steadfast in its recent promise of an unprecedented show down with copyright infringers and royalty defaulters in Nigeria, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), the nation’s approved collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings, has filed a motion for final judgment in the watershed 16 Billion Naira copyright infringement action brought by COSON against telecommunication giant, MTN.
In a motion filed on June 20, 2016 at the Federal High Court Lagos by foremost Intellectual Property lawyer, Mr. Justin Ige, COSON has asked the court for an order for final judgment in favour of COSON for the liquidated sum as per claim (g) contained in the writ of summons and statement of claim, in default of pleadings by MTN. COSON also asked for such further or other orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of the case.
In COSON’s 8 paragraph affidavit in support of the motion for judgment sworn to by one Jubilee Wakeel, Mr. Wakeel deposed to the facts that the suit was commenced by writ of summons on 9th May, 2016 and that MTN was served on 10th May, 2016 and that well over 30 days since MTN was served with all the processes in the suit, the Defendant had failed refused and/or neglected to take steps to file any pleadings in defence of the action.
Quoting copiously from the Federal High Court rules and a plethora of decided cases, Mr. Ige, lawyer to COSON in his written statement in support of the motion stated that as disclosed in the supporting affidavit to the application, no defense had been filed in the matter. He went on to state that the Plaintiff is convinced that the Defendant has no defence to the claim and all the averments in the Claim should be deemed undisputed by the defendant.
While urging the court to grant the motion in the interest of justice, Mr. Ige stated that COSON is seeking judgment for royalties which the Defendant hopes to hold on to, if possible, forever – during which time those persons whom the royalties ought to be distributed to will continue to suffer needlessly. He stated that by granting the application, the court can put an end to the pain of the copyright owners without further delay.
It will be recalled that in the suit No. FHC/L/CS/619/2016, the biggest copyright law suit ever in the continent of Africa, there are 18 separate claims endorsed on the writ supported by a 43 paragraph Statement of Claim. COSON has also asked the court for six different declarations of copyright infringement allegedly perpetrated by MTN in the MTN Friendship’, ‘Connect’ or ‘Walk In’ Centres across Nigeria; the MTN ‘Road Shows’ in Nigeria; the various MTN Music Concerts, Festivals, Award Shows, Product Activations and Corporate events; the MTN Callertunez platform; the MTN Music Plus platform and the MTN Mobile Radio.
Speaking recently on the NTA programme, “Slow Flow” on the determination of COSON to stamp out copyright infringement in Nigeria, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “At COSON, we are determined, committed and resolved to stamping out the era of “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop” from the Nigerian music industry and establishing a transparent and accountable industry in which everyone who invests his or her talent or resources can rest assured that his or her investment will be fully protected. We will not buckle under pressure from anyone no matter how highly placed. We have sued a corporation owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria. We have gone to court against a State government. We have had to sue Nigeria’s biggest bank, wrestle in court with Nigeria’s biggest hotel and broadcast networks. At COSON, we verily believe that no one is above the law”.