Audio-visual rights society to commence picketing of defaulting firms

Audio-visual rights group

The Audio-Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) says it will embark on ‘massive’ picketing of organisations that have refused to be licensed as users of audio-visual works.

AVRS chairman, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, said this last week during a working visit from a consultant in copyright administration and collective management, Rob Hooijer, to AVRS leadership.

AVRS is the sole government-licensed collective management organisation for audio-visual content.

“We have written to them, visited them and reached them through so many other means but a few of them have refused to be licensed. It is time to wield the big stick. We are going to commence picketing of those organizations beginning from March 1st. We have put all the machinery in motion to ensure total success. Those who use audio-visual content must be ready to be licensed,” Mr Ali-Balogun said.

Mr Hoojier, with 45 years’ experience working with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other top right management organisations such as SAMRO, CISAC, and IFPI, visited AVRS for three days on behalf of AISGE to access its progress and facilitate co-operation.

The visit was also to assess the current status of AVRS taking into account its licensing activities, opportunities, staffing, office accommodation, IT infrastructure, lobbying activities, transparency, accountability to its members (particularly performer members) and governance.

Also, Hooijer’s visit to the new corporate office of the AVRS situated on 15 Sylvia Crescent, Anthony Lagos was to identify training opportunities and subjects which would benefit AVRS and which AISGE may be able to assist with when holding its seminar in Madrid, Spain during the summer of 2020.

Hooijer, who met with Ali-Balogun, the acting General Manager, Bukola Adeyemi, and some directors of AVRS said he was impressed with what he met on ground and was optimistic that with the right support the AVRS will in no time be the collective management organisation of choice in the continent.

Hooijer also hinted that he met with the Director-General, Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), John Asein, in Abuja to ascertain the current position of the Nigerian Copyright Act and the government’s intention to provide legislation in line with its ratification of the Beijing Treaty.     

Ali-Balogun said Hooijer’s visit afforded the AVRS the opportunity to be acquainted with current trends and workable strategies in the area of collective management administration and governance.

The filmmaker and culture advocate described the visit as “rewarding, enlightening and mutually beneficial.”