A Critique of Right Management and Copyright Enforcement by Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON)

97 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2023

See all articles by Faith O. Majekolagbe

Faith O. Majekolagbe

University of Alberta - Faculty of Law; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: May 2016


Copyright is a bundle of legal rights given to a creator of an original work which gives such creator the exclusive right to do or authorise the doing of some acts such as reproduction, publication, public performance, communication to the public, etc. in relation to the work created. A copyright owner can manage and enforce his rights individually. However, individual management of rights is virtually impossible with regard to certain kinds of works for practical reasons. For example, in a country like Nigeria, it is practically impossible for a musician to contact every user of his work in the country to negotiate licences for the use of his works. It will also be cumbersome for such musician to go round the country to enforce his copyrights where they have been infringed upon. It is in response to this problem that the collective management of right provides a viable solution.

Collective management of copyright effectively allows rights holders to grant exclusive mandates to a Collective Management Organisation (CMO) which acts on behalf of the rights holders to grant authorisations through licenses to users; to collect the remuneration from the licenses; to distribute it among the rights holders; to monitor the uses of their works; to prevent and detect infringement of rights; and to seek remedies for infringement.

Although CMOs have come on board to ameliorate the problems faced by copyright owners in the management and enforcement of rights, the question remains: how well have they been able to mitigate these problems? This Long Essay uses the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) as a case study and critiques the right management and copyright enforcement roles of COSON. COSON is the sole approved CMO for copyright owners in the classes of musical works and sound recordings (including performers’ rights) and commenced operations in 2010. The objective of this Long Essay is to critique the roles of COSON in right management and copyright enforcement. A critique like this will help measure the success of the selected CMO as well as indicate what can be done to better the organisation’s performance. The Long Essay employs majorly a qualitative research methodology under which existing literatures in the research area are subjected to content analysis and interviews are also conducted to gather descriptive data which will help in achieving the research objectives.

The Long Essay finds that the right management and enforcement structures of COSON are restricted to the so-called commercial centres of Nigeria like Lagos and Abuja while other parts of the country are almost neglected. It also finds that COSON does not have a digital licensing arrangement in place and has not done anything serious to mitigate the loss occasioned by the non-enforcement of infringements occurring on internet platforms. It equally finds that litigation is the major enforcement tool of COSON.

The Long Essay concludes by making some recommendations amongst which are: existence of at least a COSON office in each of the six geo-political zones of the country; the appointment of consultants working as COSON’s agents in all the states of the federation; commencement of digital licensing; exploring more enforcement mechanisms; etc.

Suggested Citation

Majekolagbe, Faith, A Critique of Right Management and Copyright Enforcement by Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) (May 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4349522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4349522

Faith Majekolagbe (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Faculty of Law ( email )

Law Centre (111 - 89 Ave)
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H5

HOME PAGE: http://www.ualberta.ca

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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