By SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAH
Filmmakers will begin to enjoy dividends from there works, like their counterparts in the music sector.
Chairman of Audio-Visual Rights Society (AVRS) of Nigeria, Mr. Bond Emeruwa made the disclosure during the second Annual General Meeting of the society which held at the NAN Hall, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, penultimate Wednesday.
Emeruwa who urged members to exercise more patience, promised that distribution of royalties accrued to them will commence in about six months time.
The AVRS Chief reiterated that the society was only licensed as a Collective Management Organisation (CMO) about three years ago, and will soon start collecting money from users of their works.
He said: “What is inarguable before us today is that AVRS since obtaining certificate of approval from the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) in October 2014 is yet to collect royalties from users of cinematograph films in the country.”
Emeruwa explained that this is not a shortcoming on the part of the AVRS management, but a phase which a new society must go through.
According to him, “Setting up a Collective Management Organisation (CMO) anywhere in the world requires passing through seminal procedures during which careful steps and essential decisions are made for seamless operation afterwards. It is even more peculiar in the case of AVRS as we are one of the very few Audio-Visual Copyright management organisations in the world. What this means is that there is little or no precedence to follow. We have had to invent the wheel every step of the way. The existing copyright laws in some cases have also made it a little difficult for us to move forward at the desired pace. These are being worked out with the assistance of the Nigerian Copyright Commission and will soon be resolved,” he assured.
He informed members that the society is on the verge of consummating collection agreements with the Hotels and Personal Employers Association of Nigeria (HOPESEA). He said that demand notices, invoices and follow-up notices have been sent to over one thousand hotels and other right users in the last one year.
These, according to the AVRS boss include, Lagos State Barbing-Hairdressing And Cosmetology Association (LABHCA); Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON); Luxury Bus Owners Association of Nigeria (LUBON) and other similar associations with whom earnest talks have commenced.
“We have no doubt, and soundly reassure you that we shall begin to collect in the very near future, and come the end of this year, we shall all have cause to smile,” he said.
One of the high points of the event was the introduction of the new management staff of AVRS, led by the General Manager/CEO, Mrs. Olubunmi Fawole. Others on the team include Mrs. Bukola Adeyemi (Accountant), Samuel Osaze (Licensing Officer), Barrister Temilade Akinwolere (Licensing Officer), Elizabeth Idoko (Front Desk) and Godwin Okafor (Driver).
Among the questions raised were on the exit of erstwhile General Manager, Mr. Victor Nwokocha, and the reason another election of new Board members was not conducted. Representing the Director General of NCC at the event, Head of Lagos Office, Mr. Obi Ezeilo, added his voice to the latter, saying election deferment was on the advice of the commission, to allow the new association stabilize before changing officers
Other AVRS board members at the event include, former Chairman, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Prince Jide Kosoko, Aina Kushoro, Chief Paddie Okao, Fidelis Duker, Tony Anih, Okey Ogunjiofor, Paul Okoli, and Nobert Ajaegbu.
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