Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday held that the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) is an authorised Collective Management Organisation (CMO) for musical works and sound recordings in Nigeria.
Justice Buba gave the verdict while dismissing a suit by the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) Ltd seeking to stop MCSN from operating as a CMO.
According to the court, MCSN was validly authorised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to collect royalties on behalf of artistes.
The judge also held that contrary to COSON’s claim, the NCC is authorised to approve more than one CMO to collect royalties for artistes.
In another instance, Justice Buba held that Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), lawfully directed NCC to withdraw the cases it filed against the MCSN.
He dismissed for want of merit, COSON’s entire suit against first defendant MCSN, second defendant NCC and third defendant, the AGF.
The judge, however, vowed to report MCSN’s counsel, Romeo Michael, to the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee for alleged abuse of court process.
Earlier, Michael brought an application seeking to stall the judgment, but Justice Buba suo moto ruled against the motion, describing it as a ploy to arrest the day’s business.
The judgment brings to an end several controversies surrounding the case.
COSON filed the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1259/2017 last April, seeking a declaration that NCC failed to comply with Section 39(2) (d) of the Copyright Act 2004 and Copyright (CMO) Regulations 2007, when it registered MCSN.
It prayed the court to hold that the registration was thus void “ab initio and of no effect whatsoever.”
It also sought, among others, a perpetual injunction restraining NCC from approving MCSN as a CMO.
This was opposed by the defendants.
Following hearing, judgment in the suit was slated for last December 6, but it was subsequently adjourned till December 14.
However, on December 14, Justice Buba announced that the case file had been taken from him and that he had no choice but to adjourn the judgment indefinitely.
But on Monday, the parties were notified that judgment would be delivered yesterday.