AVRS Successfully Holds Select Stakeholders’ Forum In Port Harcourt

Posted on September 26, 2023

On September 19, 2023, prominent figures gathered in the resource-rich state of Rivers.

This event marked a significant achievement for the Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), the sole collective management organization responsible for audiovisual works in Nigeria, as it successfully hosted a select stakeholders’ forum for both the creators and consumers of audiovisual content.

Prior to the stakeholders’ forum, the AVRS delegation, led by Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun, the Chairman of AVRS, made visits to some broadcast stations in the beautiful city of Port Harcourt, popularly referred to as the Garden City.

This extraordinary event witnessed a gathering of prominent figures within the audiovisual industry, hotels including high-ranking government officials representing the government of Rivers State and the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

The forum, which lasted for about three hours, provided audiovisual sector stakeholders and users of audiovisual content with the invaluable opportunity to gain insights into the realm of copyright and the crucial significance of respecting intellectual property rights in today’s knowledge-based economy.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Ali-Balogun, the Chairman of AVRS, warmly welcomed all participants at the forum. He emphasized that the event has been carefully crafted to serve as a platform for both audiovisual copyright owners and users to come together, engage in meaningful interactions, and seek clarity on the pivotal role played by AVRS as a Collective Management Organization (CMO).

He emphasized that the forum was a testament to AVRS’s dedication to educating the public, particularly audiovisual content users as well as filmmakers.

In addition to fostering interaction between audiovisual copyright owners and users and educating the public, Mr. Ali-Balogun said, the event was aimed to achieve several other critical objectives like promoting collaboration between AVRS and the user community in Rivers State; addressing any copyright concerns and challenges; introducing and highlighting the various programmes and services offered by AVRS; enhancing the overall public awareness of audiovisual rights; promoting compliance with copyright laws and regulations among users of audiovisual works; and being a valuable platform to seek feedback and suggestions.

In her address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication, Mrs. Ibiwari Charity Clapton Ogolo, who welcomed participants to Port Harcourt and declared the forum opened said, the gathering of audiovisual industry stakeholders underscores the paramount significance of audiovisual works and intellectual property in the emerging economy.

Mrs. Clapton Ogolo said, “There is no doubt that piracy, illegal copying and unauthorised use of intellectual property has dealt severe blows to copyright owners. Thus, your struggle over the years which culminated in the establishment of a law which mandates organisations that publicly and commercially use audiovisual works for purposes of entertainment to be properly licensed by AVRS. This action remains the catalyst for the continuous growth of the creative industries and should be supported by everyone.”

During his remark, Mr. Freddy Ndigbarra, a Director in the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, representing the Permanent Secretary, conveyed the Ministry’s commitment.

He stated that both the Ministry and the government of River State are dedicated to collaborating with AVRS and the creative industries within the state. Their joint objective is to advance the recognition of creators’ rights and guarantee that all entitlements due to rights holders in Rivers State are duly awarded.

Mr. Ndigbarra. also urged the leadership of AVRS to maintain open communication with the Ministry, ensuring their active involvement in all state activities to maximize outcomes for the stakeholders in Rivers State.

During his speech, the renowned actor, Dr. Sam Dede appealed to all public and commercial users of audiovisual work within Rivers State and beyond to collaborate closely with AVRS.

He stressed the importance of ensuring that all outstanding royalties owed to actors, filmmakers, and individuals who contribute their talent and resources to the film industry are promptly and fairly compensated while they are still alive.

He firmly expressed that it is unjust for creators and filmmakers to invest their talent, time, energy, and resources in producing valuable content that drives businesses without reaping the appropriate rewards.

The forum also saw the active presence of other notable figures from AVRS, as well as esteemed members of Nollywood, including Jide Kosoko and Monalisa Chinda-Coker.

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