The approval of the Audio Visual Rights Society (AVRS) for the Nigerian Film Industry may signal the end to unapproved use of intellectual properties for commercial purposes. The new plan of action was made known to journalists and stakeholders in the Film and Television Industry last Tuesday by the Chairman, Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) at a press parley on the approval of the society as a Collecting Managenent Organisation (CMO) by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
Addressing the media at the unveiling of the society, Chairman of the society, Mahmood Ali- Balogun said illegal use of intellectual properties of individual or organizations for commercial purposes without the consent and benefits of the rightful owner must stop. He traced the process of establishing the CMO to consultative meetings organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), two years ago with the vision to ensure all rights holders in the industry benefit both economically and from efficiency perspective. He lauded the NCC for providing its premises for meetings and discussions, including a secretariat of the AVRS to také off, having understudied the operations in Ghana.
Mahmood recalled that after several workshops and meetings, a Memoradum and Articles of Association were presented, agreed in principle and the name of the CMO as AVRS was decided before it was eventualluy registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) July, 2013.
Mahmood in his appeal to every stakeholder, especially users of audio visual works said, “It is no longer business as usual. Compensation must be paid for every use of our intellectual property by every broadcast media or organisations that use our works for profitablity. Goalposts have moved, licenses must be obtained for the exploitation of films and broadcast works. The labour of our creators past and present must not only be in vain but must be compensated now!”
With AVRS, executive producers directors and lead actors get the bulk of the proceeds accruing from their works while residual payment will be made to others who have equally contributed to the making of the work.
The Mahmood Ali- Balogun-led board of AVRS parades experienced professionals with background in the business of Film, TV and Video. The list includes 14 other directors- Aina Kusoro Olurotimi, Peddie Okao, Francis Onwochei, Tunji Bamishigbin, Ahmed M. Saraki, Gabriel Okoye, Emmanuel Isikaku, Osita Okeke, Jide Kosoko, Patrick Doyle, Emem Isong, Bond Emeruwa, Andy Amenechi and Fidelis Duker solidarity messages were received from the management of COSON and stakeholders in the industry.
Leading the management team of AVRS as the General Manager is Ms. Eme Akiba-Eyo.