The Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) has been given the green light to go ahead and demand from the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and its Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, the accounts of all royalties collected on behalf of its members and affiliates for the seven years COSON acted as the sole collecting society in Nigeria.
The Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN)an owner, assignee and exclusive lincecsee, which was approved as a Collecting Society/Collective Management Organisation last year has approached the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos seeking an order against the defendants, (COSON and its chairman, (Tony Okoroji) to account for monies they collected on MCSN’s repertoire in Suit No FHC/L/CS/1172/17.
However, in a preliminary objection to the suit, COSON and Okoroji asked the court presided over by Justice O.O Oguntoyinbo to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the plaintiff has not disclosed any material facts to aid the court to arrive at a fair judgment. Other grounds of objection are that the Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit as issues raised therein are statute barred, having arisen over six years prior to the time the matter was instituted in court. COSON also argued that the plaintiff has failed to disclose a reasonable cause of action against the defendant (COSON). And finally COSON claimed that MCSN lacks the locus standi to bring the action because it didn’t have the approval of the NCC to operate as a collecting society and to collect royalties at the material time the Plaintiff’s complaint purportedly occurred.
MCSN, through its lawyers D. A. Awosika and Partners, countered that by a recent Appeal Court decision in Appeal No./CA/L/846 /2009, the Plaintiff had the locus standi to institute the suit.
The plaintiff cited a plethora of authorities to back up its opposition to the preliminary objection of the defendant and concluded that the preliminary objection of the defendant was frivolous and therefore ought to be dismissed.
In her ruling, Justice Oguntoyibo agreed with the Plaintiff and dismissed the preliminary objection of the defendant.
“On the whole, I hold that the instant application lacks merit. Accordingly, the issues formulated for determination are resolved in favour of the Plaintiff /Respondent, against the Defendants/Applicants, and the Notice of Preliminary Objection filed on the 1st day of November 2017 is hereby dismissed” Justice Oguntoyinbo ruled on May 22nd 2017.