Why we filed N29bn suit against Multichoice — MCSN

Musicial Copyright Society of Nigeria

The Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) has revealed why it has filed a 29 billion naira suit against cable outfit Multichoice Nigeria Limited before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The association stated its reason at a press conference in Lagos on Thursday, citing continuous violation of its copyright as one of the issues.

MCSN announced that it has reluctantly taken some recalcitrant users of music to court to demand payment of royalties from them, adding that “the era of locust years was gradually brought to a halt when the due process of the law finally took over since about 2018 and in particular when the apex court, the Supreme Court of Nigeria, delivered judgements in two cases principally on the subject of collective administration of copyright.

The president of MCSN, King Sunny Ade, speaking on behalf of the chairman of the board, Orits Williki, said “The judgements 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 society 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 Limited, not to mention what will eventually go to the various state governments in personal income tax.

Also, MCSN said that aside from Multichoice, it has also sued other broadcasters who have indicated their willingness and readiness to negotiate and settle out of court, and society is happy to oblige them.

Sunny Ade added that MCSN is thankful to the 9th National Assembly and the Federal Government of Nigeria 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 against the practitioners in the creative industries in Nigeria.

The society also commended the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and its Director General, Dr John Asein, for bringing about and sustaining a stable environment for the growth of copyright culture in Nigeria.

“The NCC worked tirelessly in birthing the new Copyright Act 2022, deploying the necessary machinery in implementing key provisions of the Act, particularly in the area of enforcement, promoting the due process of the law, and providing necessary information and education for interested stakeholders and the public at large,” it said.

MCSN added that it has also filed a suit against Transcorp Hotels Plc before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, demanding the sum of N2.8 billion.