COSON calls for day-long hunger strike by Nigerian Musicians on “NO MUSIC DAY”

Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Nigeria’s sole approved collective management organization for musical works and sound recordings has called on its thousands of members across the country, other stakeholders in the music industry and lovers of music who are sympathetic to the plight of creative people ravaged by piracy and other forms of copyright infringement in Nigeria, to observe a one day Hunger Strike on Thursday, September 1, 2016 as Nigeria marks “No Music Day”.

Making the call, COSON Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji said, “Creative people in Nigeria cannot afford to forget that historic week in 2009 when Nigerian artistes of different shades embarked on a weeklong hunger strike staged in front of the National Theatre in Lagos. The hunger strike which was a result of frustration caused by the devastating level of intellectual property theft in our country was the prelude to what has become known as “No Music Day”, the day on September 1, 2009 that practitioners in the Nigerian music industry asked all the 400 licensed broadcast stations in the country not to broadcast music for a significant period of the day.”

Continuing, Chief Okoroji said:
“In 2016, it has become imperative that we take appropriate action to remind the different governments in Nigeria that the disease which necessitated the hunger strike of 2009 has not quite been cured and that at this time of dwindling oil revenue, Nigeria must take important steps to protect its creative industries to ensure the socio-economic progress of our nation.”

As internet websites, telecommunication operators, telephone manufacturers, offline download speculators, etc. take hold as key channels for the distribution of music, COSON has decided that the theme of this year’s event would be “The Monetization of Musical Content in the Digital Space.”

Broadcast stations across Nigeria have been requested not to broadcast music between the hours of 8am and 10am on Thursday, September 1, 2016 as a mark of solidarity with the nation’s creative industries which have suffered immensely from the debilitating infringement of copyright. Rather than broadcast music, the stations have been asked to dedicate the 8 am to 10 am time belt to the broadcast of interviews, documentaries, debates and discussions that focus on the rights of creative people and the potential contributions of creative activities to the national economy. Newspapers and magazines across the country have also been requested to publish special features on these issues in the coming days.

The Nigerian public is requested to tune in to different domestic radio and television stations on September 1 to engage top COSON members, Intellectual Property lawyers, investors in the music industry and other music industry experts who will spread out to diverse broadcast stations to discuss “The Monetization of Musical Content in the Digital Space”.

On No Music day, flags at the COSON office in Lagos will fly at half-mast, the organization will issue an important statement on the state of the music industry while there will be an ‘open day’ for artistes, journalists and members of the public interested in the subject of Monetization of Musical Content in the Digital Space.

Chibueze Okereke