Copyright violation: MCSN sues MultiChoice for N29b

The Musical Copyright Society Nigeria Ltd/Gte (MCSN) has sued cable outfit, MultiChoice Nigeria demanding a whopping N29 billion for the continuous violation of its copyright.
In an ex-parte motion filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, MCSN secured an Anton Piller order on January 12, 2024 to enter the office or premises of Multichoice Nigeria to seize, detain and preserve the infringing devices, tapes, transmitters and any contrivance or equipment, as well as inspect any document and broadcast logs relating to the suit, in the custody or under the control of the defendants (MultiChoice).
At a press conference in Lagos last Wednesday, MCSNs board chairman, Orits Williki, disclosed that the collecting society took some recalcitrant users of music to court, demanding payment of royalties from them.
He said: The era of locust years was gradually brought to a halt as the due process of the law finally took over since about 2018, and in particular when the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered judgments in two cases, principally on the subject of collective administration of copyright. “The judgments are in Appeal Nos. SC/366.2008 between Adeokin Records Co. & Anor vs. Musical Copyright Society Nigeria Ltd/Gte reported in (2018) 15 NWLR (Pt.1643) 550; and SC/425/2010 between Musical Copyright Society Nigeria Ltd/Gte vs. Compact Disc Ltd. & Ors reported in (2019) 4 NWLR (Pt.1661) 1. The Court of Appeal followed suit when it affirmed the Federal High Court judgment awarding the sum of N5.9 billion in damages in Appeal No. CA/L/188/18 between Multichoice Nigeria vs. Musical Copyright Society Nigeria Ltd/Gte.
“MCSN is demanding N27.3 billion for the actual use of musical works and sound recordings, and N2.05 billion for Value Added Tax (VAT) due to the Federal Government of Nigeria from Multichoice Nigeria, not to mention what will eventually go to the various state governments in personal income tax. Besides Multichoice, MCSN has also sued other broadcasters who have indicated their willingness and readiness to negotiate and settle out of court and the Society is happy to oblige them.”
MCSN was thankful to the federal government and 9th National Assembly for enacting the new Copyright Act 2022 in March 2023, which the Society believes would halt the dividing tactics of users and consumers of musical works and sound recordings.
The collecting society also commended the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and its Director General, Dr. John Asein in bringing about and sustaining the stable environment for the growth of copyright culture in Nigeria.

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