Copyright Society of Nigeria slaps Etisalat with massive lawsuit

The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has taken telecoms company Etisalat to court.

Tony Okoroji of COSON and Matthew Willsher of Etisalat
Tony Okoroji of COSON and Matthew Willsher of Etisalat

This comes even as the copyrights body is involved in a case with Oriental Hotel and months after taking MTN Nigeria to court.

COSON has been campaigning for organisations to take copyright infringements on “the intellectual property rights of Nigeria’s creative talents and investors in the creative industries” seriously in Nigeria. And “in furtherance of that commitment” says an official statement from the body “COSON has just fired Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Ltd, the parent company of Etisalat, with a brand new 12 billion naira law suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos".

“Joined in the big copyright infringement action filed on Friday, March 10, 2017, by Lagos Intellectual property lawyer Mr Justin Ige of Creative Legal, is Etisalat’s CEO, Mr Matthew Willsher,” it said. 

Among its demands, COSON has asked that Etisalat release all infringing copies of musical works and of any articles or technologies in the possession of “Etisalat, their servants, agents and privies, specifically designed or adapted for making such copies, adaptations, distributions, communication to the public, and/or public performance of the musical works”,

Speaking about the lawsuit, COSON chairman Tony Okoroji said, “Anyone who still thinks that COSON is joking needs to have his or her head examined. We are committed to stamping out the era of 'monkey dey work, baboon dey chop' from the Nigerian music industry and establishing a transparent and accountable industry in which everyone who invests his or her talent or resources can rest assured that his or her investment will be fully protected.

“We will not buckle under pressure from anyone no matter how mighty. We have sued a federal government-owned agency. We have gone to court against a state government. We have had to sue Nigeria’s biggest bank, wrestle in court with Nigeria’s biggest hotels and broadcast networks. At COSON, our belief is that no one is above the law.

“The ongoing recession (in Nigeria) should make it clear to everyone that our nation must change course. We can no longer afford to anchor the future of our children and grandchildren on the vagaries of the crude oil market. Our music and our movies in great demand everywhere in the world must count for something,” Okoroji said.

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