NCC, stakeholders task AVRS on licensing, distribution of royalties

NCC, stakeholders task AVRS on licensing, distribution of royalties

The Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission,NCC, Mr. John Asein has urged the leadership of the Audiovisual Rights Society of Nigeria,AVRS, AVRS, to evolve strategies to manage the impact of the growth in digital technologies that has ushered in a new wave of services that has seen content consumption rise exponentially. NCC boss made

The Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission,NCC, Mr. John Asein has urged the leadership of the Audiovisual Rights Society of Nigeria,AVRS, AVRS, to evolve strategies to manage the impact of the growth in digital technologies that has ushered in a new wave of services that has seen content consumption rise exponentially.
NCC boss made the call at the maiden edition of Stakeholders-Users Forum organized by the AVRS, which held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, last week.
While calling on content users to cooperate with AVRS in ensuring that licensing is conducted in the most business-friendly manner, the NCC DG canvassed a situation where the AVRS must be seen to discharge its function in a manner that justifies its existence as a collective management organization.
His words, “I encourage users to cooperate with the AVRS in ensuring that licensing is conducted in the most business-friendly manner. As long as it is acknowledged that creative contents are vital inputs to the operations of certain businesses, licensing of such content is no longer debatable, but rather a case of ascertaining what the appropriate licensing rates and tariffs should be.”Asein, however, expressed NCC’s willingness to assist parties who may have difficulties in coming to an amicable conclusion of such licensing deals through alterative dispute resolution.
Speaking in the same vein, Chairman of the forum and former DG of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Emeka Mba, canvassed the need to deconstruct and reconstruct the Nollwood value chain in a way as to maximally secure any real measure of value to the industry practitioners. Mba was unequivocal in his submission that the industry guild and associations have largely failed to design an engagement strategy with agreed deliverables that the NCC and other agencies can be measured by. He therefore charged AVRS to rise to the occasion and act in the overall industry interest.
According to Mba, “The AVRS should be the last man standing; the industry insurance vehicle to ensure that a measurable portion of the value created by Nollywood comes back to Nollywood for the benefit of industry practitioners.’’But to effectively play the role of the last man standing, AVRS according to Mba must conduct an audit of what is collectible based on the applicability of the law establishing it and this must be broken down sector by sector.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of the AVRS, Mahmood Ali-Balogun noted that while the AVRS may have recorded some progress in the areas of enlightenment, membership data analysis, capacity building for staff and management and strategic partnership building processes, the collecting society is still lagging behind, given the fact that the CMO was licensed about five years ago and till date, it has not commenced the licensing and distribution of royalties, which as he stressed ‘are the two fundamental purposes for which AVRS was established and approved as a CMO’. Commending the understanding and spirit of cooperation by users of audiovisual content who have shown commitment to voluntary compliance with copyright regulations by obtaining AVRS license, Ali-Balogun urged users who are still trying to evade payment for AVRS license to obtain the license as the Nigerian Copyright Act is very clear on the obligation and liabilities of right users. The event which was hosted by veteran actor, Richard Mofe Damijo, had in attendance big names in the Nigerian motion picture industry, industry regulators like he Nigerian Copyright Commission,NCC, officials of banks and other financial institutions, entertainment lawyers, captains of industry among others. Participants emphasized the need for the leadership of AVRS to set the machinery for rights collection and administration in motion picture industry, especially against the backdrop of the massive transformation and continuous expansion that the audiovisual landscape has witnessed in the past two decades.

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