Live Shows: Artistes Have Been Paid; COSON, Again?

By Justin Ige
When a concert organizer pays an artiste to do a show, what he pays for is a LIVE APPEARANCE of that artiste and not A LICENCE FOR PUBLIC PERFORMANCE OF COMPOSITIONS. The organizer pays the artiste for appearing live to the public at their event and for rendering songs to the public. This fee does not cover interests of other people who may have copyright interests in the musical works that the artiste may perform; such other people may include the music publisher, music arranger/producer, songwriters and composers.
If the artiste would not be using a live band, that is, using a DJ, thereby necessitating the public performance of a CD (sound recording), then the copyright interests of whoever owns copyright in the recordings would not have been taken care of too. This would most likely be the record company.
As regards the copyright interests the artiste may have in the songs (whether or not he has a valid claim to all the copyright interests in the works), the artiste, being a member Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), has granted COSON the exclusive right to receive such monies/royalties on his behalf; therefore, any payments under this head would be payable to COSON and not the artiste.
There are about four possible scenarios:

  1. The artiste is engaged for a non-musical live appearance: COSON has no interest in this.
  2. The artiste is engaged for a musical live appearance: COSON has an interest.
  3. The artiste is not engaged at all, but music associated with him will be performed live by some other person or groups: COSON has an interest.
  4. The artiste is not engaged at all but a DJ would play music associated with the artiste: COSON has an interest.It would be unrealistic to expect concert organizers to grapple with all the technicalities and all the rights and all the sharing formulas that may be applicable to every song that would be played at their event. This is the responsibility of COSON; therefore the worldwide practice that concert organizers pay artistes and performers for their live appearance while the copyright issues associated with such performances are left to a government approved body to tackle. The monies due to all copyright stakeholders are paid in bulk to COSON and COSON does the sharing and payment to all stakeholders.When a concert takes place and fees for the live appearances are taken care of but all copyright interests in the performance are not taken care of (an appropriate license has not been applied for and received), copyright infringements (contrary to the copyright Act, 2004) has taken place and the organizers would be liable for the illegality.

Justin Ige can also be reached via or 08023897112. This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace legal counsel. First written and published online on11 May2011

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