MCSN Clears the Air on Radio and TV Licence Fees

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Vanessa Obioha

At the 27th Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Hotel Association (NHA) in Abuja recently, the Chief Executive Officer of the Musical Copyright Society Nigeria (MCSN) Mayo Ayilaran, clarified the misconception surrounding radio and television licence fees.

He pointed out that the licence fees which is generally collected by the various local government authorities in the country has no relationship with copyright licence.

He explained that the radio and television licence fees are the internally generated revenues of the LGAs on the residual list of Section 1(b) of the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, while the payment of copyright licence fee is a requirement under the exclusive list of the Constitution under Section 251(1)(f), item13 of the Second Schedule.

This, he said is the clear distinction between the two, besides the Copyright Act of 2004 which requires a licence for the use of music for commercial purposes.

He urged his audience to shun the cupidity to exploit music for commercial purposes without permission, stating that the consequences of such actions are very severe.

“If one uses music of whatever form in his or her business like running a hotel, bar, night club, restaurant or fuel stations, it is way cheaper to obtain a licence (permission) for such. The consequences of not doing so can be disastrous if the owners of the copyright in the works take them to court.”

To avoid such exposures, he advised that it pays both MCSN and those exploiting its repertoire for profit to seek permission because the society was established to protect the work of authors (composers, creators and publishers) and also be of service to users in their exploitation of music, (both local and foreign) with ease since it represents the creators and authors of such works from around the world.

“The society was set up in the first place to help protect the works of authors and also be of use to users of music in businesses without travelling around the world or from state to state seeking permission from one artiste to another.

” MCSN represents many musicians, creators and authors in Nigeria as well as their foreign counterparts for the purpose of saving them time, money and effort,” he concluded.