What does the 6th amendment to NBC’s broadcasting code mean for Nigerian music? [Explainer]

In the case of music, The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) is the CMO that approves clearances for music sync, publishers and labels.

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What does NBC’s proposed new guideline mean for music? (NBC)

On June 11, 2020, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) released an amended version to the sixth edition of its broadcasting code of conduct and finally did something music publishers, composers and composing association has been clamouring for.

Section three of the code covers music and it aims to guarantee adequate payment for Nigerian artists through the use of their copyrighted works on air. It also aims to make broadcasters obtain license from artists or owners of rights to an artwork before such artwork (music) can be played on air.

Code 3 (18) (3) of the amended states that also compels broadcasting organizations to pay all sums payable to collective management organization (CMO) (in this case COSON) and obtain clearance before any bit of music can be played on air. Failure to comply with these guidelines will make a broadcaster liable to a Class B offence.

According to Code 10 of the the third amendment of this code – which can also be a punishment section, a Class B offence will be punished in the following ways

  1. Written WARNING to remedy/rectify a breach within a reasonable time frame, failing which a fine of not less than N100,000.00 shall be imposed.
  2. Failure to comply attracts reduction of the daily broadcast hours for a given period; re-commence of full broadcast hours shall be subject to a fine of not less than N500,000.00.
  3. Suspension of licence for a given period with a recommencement fine of not less than N1,000,000.00.

Any broadcaster who is also in doubt as to which collective management organization to contact is required to get in touch with the National Copyrights Commission (NCC).

In the case of music, The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) is the CMO that approves clearances for music sync, publishers and labels in the event of publishing performance, distribution, adaptation of an artwork.

The NBC’s new amendment is a big win for Nigerian music. Artists should be paid for every use of their music – including use by DJs and even in supermarkets and gyms.

You might remember that…

This is not the first time the NBC has attempted such an audacious move with music to ensure the rights of artists are protected. The problem with this though is that, these things seldom stick. In even worse cases, COSON has been lax at its job of collection.

On July 27, 2018, Pulse Nigeria published an article on how the NCC suspended COSON’s license for reasons of its infamous leadership crisis.

A statement made available by MPAN, dated Thursday, July 26, 2018, and signed by its Chairman, Olumide Mustapha and Secretary, Isioma Idigbe reads;

‘The Music Publishers Association of Nigeria (MPAN) is an association of owners of interests in copyright catalogues comprised of tens of thousands of musical works, from the 1960s to 2018, locally and internationally.

“As the single largest body of music copyright owners in Nigeria, no single individual or other body has more at stake in the development of music-related copyright, and the success of the overall Copyright management system, in Nigeria.

“Therefore the current suspension of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) license to act as a collective management organization (CMO) for musical works by the Nigerian Copyright Commission is one of great concern to us and our members.

“MPAN recognises that the NCC’s actions regarding COSON are well intended especially in light of the fact that the NCC under the impressive leadership of has been one of the biggest contributors to the significant positive developments of copyright administration in Nigeria.”

Move by MPAN

On Friday, May 12, 2019, the Music Publishers Association of Nigeria (MPAN), convened a meeting of industry stakeholders at Landmark Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos and Pulse Nigeria attended. It aimed to solve some problems by petitioning the National Communications Commission (NCC) on the following grounds;

1. NCC must order an immediate forensic audit of COSON accounts.

2. NCC must create key directives to harmonize the PRO environment e.g same invoicing, licensing and revenue collection.

3. NCC must direct all PROs to allocate 10% of the distribution for general distribution.

4. MPAN/NCC/COSON/MCSN joint committee to address music publishing tariffs to determine if the rates are sufficient.

At the event, Olumide Mustapha spoke about why we are losing hundreds of millions of naira every year in music publishing income. From a fact-based perspective, Mustapha addressed the increase in revenue streams pertinent to Nigerian music.

He also broke down the multiple under-harnessed revenue generation streams. He feels that as the global interest in Nigerian music continues to penetrate Western mainstream, the potential revenue will increase.

Thus, he feels we need a more effective collective management organization that will not only aid collection of music in Nigeria, but one that will possess international effectiveness.

He also spoke about how the growing penetration of Nigerian music in the UK mainstream with afro-swing means Nigerians now stand a chance to make their money. However, despite the increasing revenue, 80% of the possible revenue remain uncollected.

During a chat with Punch Nigeria, Olumide Mustapha said, “We presented four petitions to all the attendees and those petitions cover areas we will forward to the Copyright Commission. We are confident we’ll have a significant impact in the decision making of how to resolve this issue in the industry after meeting the commission.”

On the other hand, the new code has severe repercussions in the movie section. You can read about it HERE.