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Press Release: Trial Begins In The Coson Multi-Million Naira Action Against First Bank

Trial has commenced in the multi-million naira landmark copyright infringement action filed by Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) against First Bank of Nigeria of Nigeria Ltd, Nigeria’s biggest bank.
In 2014, COSON approached the Federal High Court, Lagos asking for seven hundred million naira in unpaid royalties and damages against First Bank Plc. for copyright infringement with respect to the unauthorized use of several musical works and sound recordings communicated to the public, deployed and exploited as marketing, promotional and advertising materials and contained in First Bank’s video presentation, Sights and Sounds of Carnival Calabar.

When trial commenced on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 before Hon. Justice Ibrahim Buba at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Mr. Justin Ige, lawyer to COSON, called his first witness, Mr. Chibueze Okereke. Mr. Okereke introduced himself as a Journalist, Communications practitioner and COSON’s Head of Licensing. Mr. Okereke who adopted his front loaded witness statement on oath was cross examined by Mr. Ekpe Asuquo, lawyer to First Bank. Under cross examination, Mr. Okereke said that the Calabar Carnival has developed into an international event. Asked if he knew how much First Bank has gained as a result of its deployment of Sights and Sounds of Carnival Calabar, he said that while he could not quantify the exact amount gained by First Bank as a result of the its deployment of Sights & Sounds of Carnival Calabar, he was sure that it has added value to the bank.
In the Suit No. FHC/CS/L/530/2014, COSON had pleaded in its 29 paragraph Statement of Claim that First Bank of Nigeria Ltd. did not apply for or secure a license or any authorization whatsoever before exploiting, communicating to the public, publishing and deploying the musical works and sound recordings of the members of COSON and COSON’s assignors as included in, reproduced and contained in the video, Sights and Sounds of Carnival Calabar deployed by First Bank Plc in its marketing, promotion and advertising and posted on the internet.

The trial is expected to heat up on the adjourned date, April 22, when Chief Tony Okoroji, the COSON Chairman may take the witness stand. Chief Okoroji, a former president of PMAN, a former member of the Board of the Nigerian Copyright Council is one of Africa’s foremost authorities on copyright. He is the author of the ground breaking book, Copyright & the New Millionaires.
Press Release: Trial Begins In The Coson Multi-Million Naira Action Against First Bank Reviewed by Billion Bill on March 17, 2015 Rating: 5

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