The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) on Tuesday arraigned the Chief Executive officer of the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN), Mayowa Ayilaran and other top officials of the company for allegedly operating as collecting society of musical works without the approval of the commission.
Ayilaran was arraigned alongside others on three separate charges before Justice Mohammed Yinusa of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Other officials of the company are Louis Udoh, Halim mohammed, Banjo Omolara Biliqis, Yusuf Adogi Benson, Olukayode Ajayi and Njoku Gladys.
In the first charge which was made up of one count, the MCSN officials were alleged to have performed duties as a collecting society by demanding royalties from a firm, Blow Fish, and still went on carrying the business of soliciting and granting licenses on behalf of copyright owners without the approval of the NCC.
In the second charge which also consist of one count, Ayilaran and his men were accused of demanding royalties on musical works from Scarlet Lodge, while in the third charge, the MSCN officials were accused of demanding royalties from Southern Sun hotel.
The offence, according to the charges contravened Section 39 (4) (5) and (6) of the NCC Act, Cap C28, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
All of the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, while their lawyer, Wale Adesokan urged the court to admit them to bail on liberal terms.
He said the offence for which his clients were charged, was not a serious one that could warrant the court refusing bail.
Adesokan said his clients were not arrested by the NCC and brought to the court, adding that they only took it upon themselves to attend court immediately they got wind of the matter, and that the NCC also failed to serve them with any hearing notice.
Responding, NCC’s lawyer, Obi Ezeilo urged the court to either refuse bail and grant accelerated hearing, or impose serious conditions to the bail so that the accused could attend trial.
Justice Yinusa, in his ruling, said he was impressed by the conduct of the accused persons, adding that the materials placed before the court by the NCC in opposition to the bail were not relavant.
According to the judge, “No doubt, bail is a Constitutional right. I’m impressed by the conduct of the accused persons by attending court.
“I’m convinced that the offence is a very simple one with a light sentence. In the light of the above, I shal reluctantly grant bail to the accused persons. Bail is hereby granted to each of the accused in the sum of N1 million and two sureties each in like sum. Each of the sureties shall be a house owner within Lagos. Learned counsel should also verify the sureties,” Justice Yinusa ruled.
The cases were thereafter adjourned till February 19, 26 and 27, 2013 for trial.