A Federal High Court presided over by Honourable Justice Mohammed Idris yesterday directed the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) and the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) to restrain themselves from taking any further action that would prejudice the hearing of the class action suit filed by MCSN against COSON and 6 other defendants.
In his ruling, Justice Idris stated that it is trite law that once a matter is before the court and parties are aware of the subject matter, parties should restrain themselves from doing anything on the subject matter as a way of showing respect not only for rule of law but also for the court and adjourned the matter to December 20, 2012. MCSN had last week filed a suit at the Federal High Court, seeking an injunction to stop COSON from going ahead to distribute the 100 million Naira royalties earned on use of copyright works to musicians. Lawyer to MCSN, Dr. Ope Banwo claimed in a statement that some of the money to be distributed was earned on works belonging to members of his society and that the suit will also determine who has right to collect royalties in behalf of musicians.
At the mention of the case, COSON’s Lawyer, Mr. Femi Fajolu, informed the court that he had filed a preliminary objection which he served on MCSN’s lawyer on Friday but was unable to serve on other defendants and asked for a short adjournment for MCSN and other parties to respond.
While replying to request for adjournment counsel to MCSN, Dr. Ope Banwo in company of Mr. D. A. Awosika and Mr. Olumide Ekisola and seven other lawyers urged the court to direct parties to maintain the status quo, stating in particular that COSON should not distribute the money which is the subject of the suit since it is trite law that once parties becomes aware of a pending suit challenging an action, parties must restrain themselves from carrying out that action until the matter is determined, quoting the Supreme Court decision in Ojukwu vs. Governor of Lagos State. Counsel to COSON, Mr. Fajolu opposed the request stating that since the issue is monetary, his client can either refund the money or pay compensation if the judgement was unfavourable to his client, but his request was turned down by the learned judge who ruled that it is trite law that once a matter is before the court and parties are aware of the subject matter parties should restrain themselves from doing anything on the subject matter as a way of showing respect not only for rule of law but also for the court. Meanwhile, there are reports that COSON has vowed to go ahead to distribute the N100 million to musician irrespective of the ruling.