The Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) has concluded its stakeholders’ meetings for players in the motion picture industry with the Kano and Abuja legs of the campaign held recently.
AVRS, Nigeria’s sole approved collective management organization for the motion picture industry had in February began an enlightenment campaign on its objectives and activities in Lagos, before moving to Asaba and Benin after the general elections in April.
Like the earlier meetings, the Kano forum held at Ni’ima Guest Palace Conference Centre, Old GRA, Kano was well attended by players in the film industry in northern Nigeria.
AVRS chair, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, opened the session by explaining what the body was about. He noted that the power of any film medium is largely based on its outreach and highlighted the wide viewership of Hausa films across West and East Africa in particular.
He commended the industrious spirit of Kano-based film makers, particularly their consistency in making films in an indigenous African language, and enjoined them to formalize their membership of AVRS in order to enjoy the benefits of residual income guaranteed by annual payment of royalties.
The Kano State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry who is also a notable stakeholder and president of MOPPAN, Kano State, Professor Umar F. Jibril, commended the Federal Government for the approval of AVRS which he described as the best thing to happen to Nigeria’s film industry since independence.
Also speaking, the North-West Zonal Manager of Nigerian Copyright Commission, Alhaji Hassan Usman who represented the Director-General, Mr. Afam Ezekude, reiterated the commitment of NCC towards total eradication of intellectual property rights abuse in Nigeria.
The interactive session afforded participants the opportunity to ask questions and address their concerns about membership, licensing, assignment of rights and the reliability of reciprocal agreements.
General Manager of AVRS, Ms. Eme Akiba-Eyo, joined the chairman and directors to respond to the issues raised, with detailed explanation of national and international legal frameworks of collective management.
The Abuja Forum, held at Merit House, Aguiyi-Ironsi Street, Maitama, was equally well-attended by stakeholders. Anchored by actor Francis Duru, it provided an auspicious platform for filmmakers to engage AVRS and NCC officials on national response strategies against movie piracy.
Speaking with reporters after the meetings, AVRS chair, Balogun disclosed that the body would focus more attention on commercial users of audio visual works in the weeks ahead.