The Audiovisual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) has been urged to ensure that it provide efficient and cost effective means of ensuring that right users begin to pay for rights used.
Some stakeholders and major players of the audiovisual sector of the Nigerian entertainment industry made this known at a stakeholders’ forum that held in Lagos.
John Asein, the Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), who spoke at the event, hosted by Richard Mofe-Damijo, called on the AVRS to devise strategies to manage the impact of the growth in digital technologies that has ushered in a new wave of services, which has seen content consumption rise exponentially.
While urging content users to cooperate with AVRS in ensuring that licensing is conducted in the most business-friendly manner, Asein canvassed a situation where the Society must be seen to discharge its function in a manner that justifies its existence as a collective management organization.
“I encourage users present here 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,’’ he said.
Also, speaking at the event, Emeka Mba, former DG of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), canvassed the need to deconstruct and reconstruct the Nollywood value chain in a way to maximally secure real value to the industry practitioners.
Mba therefore charged AVRS to rise to the occasion and act in the overall industry interest.
“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’’.
In the same vein, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, chairman of the AVRS, noted that the Society have recorded some progress in the areas of enlightenment, membership data analysis, capacity building for staff and management and strategic partnership building processes.
But the AVRS, according to Ali-Balogun, is still many steps behind, given that the CMO was licensed near five years ago and till date, the CMO is still far off licensing and distribution of royalties, which as he stressed ‘are the two fundamental purposes for which AVRS was established and approved as a CMO’.
However, 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.
“In the past few years there has been landmark judicial pronouncements that have become benchmarks for judgment on matters of right usage.
“We hope that we will not be constrained to engage at that level which is why the only option open to a user of audiovisual content in which copyright subsist, is to comply with extant laws and regulations”.
Other speakers at the event include CEO of Dragon Africa and Chairman Social Media Week Nigeria Obi Asika, the CEO of ACC Broadcast Multimedia Limited Dr. Don Pedro Obaseki, Sandra Oyewole, partner at Olajide Oyewole LLP and Chijioke Uwaegbute of Pricewaterhouse and Cooper.
The AVRS is the only company that is authorized to license public and commercial use of cinematograph and video works in Nigeria.