Notable filmmaker and former president of Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Mr. Bond Emeruwa, has been elected president of Audio-Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS), during a keenly contested elections at Excellence Hotel, Ogba, Lagos, on Tuesday.
Emeruwa polled nine of the 15 directors’ votes to defeat co-founder and interim chairman of the society, Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun who had led the board since inception in 2014.
Norbert Ajaegbu and Prince Jide Kosoko who are amomg the 15 new directors, nominated Emeruwa and Ali-Balogun respectively, for the chairmanship position.
AVRS is the sole Collective Management Organisation (CMO) for the motion picture industry licensed by the Nigerian Copyright Commission on October 20, 2014. The society’s mandate among others, is the collection of monies on behalf of intellectual property right owners and distribute same to members periodically, as royalty.
With 264 members of the society and other stakeholders, there were strong indications of the seriousness of the AVRS business at the event which began with an Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the Ali-Balogun led former board gave stewardship of their activities in the last two years before they were formally dissolved.
The 264 members of the AVRS were represented in persons and proxies at the event which also had potential members and other practitioners. Also present were officials of NCC; co-CMO for the music industry, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) as well as independent observers.
After the first stage of the elections, which determined the 15 new directors of the board of AVRS, contestants with the most votes include; Jide Kosoko (201), Lilian Amah-Aluko (189), Fidelis Duker (186), Ahmed Sarari (184), Emmanuel Isikaku (179), Sanni Muazu (169), Bond Emeruwa (168), Paul Okoli (166), Chico Ejiro (165), Mahmood Ali-Balogun (148), Olurotimi Aina-Kushoro (139), Okechukwu Ogunjiofor(135), Anthony Anih (132), Norbert Ajaegbu (127) and Peddie Okao (127).
Other contestants who fell below the 15 topmost votes are Tunji Bamishigbin (111), Igwe Gabosky (110), Remi Ibinola-Olatunji (105), Patrick Doyle (86), Madu C. Chikwendu (86), Alex Eyengho (71), Chikezie Donatus Nkemdirim (43), Francis Onwochei (16) and Osita Okeke (6).
The AVRS is considered one of the strongest business platforms of revenue stream for practitions in the movie industry.
Apart from monies charged commercial users of films and musical videos, the private copy levy is another revenue generator in the digital age. Experts have estimated that the AVRS alone is capable of making about N200 million monthly if and when the private copy levy if implemented in Nigeria.
The levy is compensation for creators and investors in music, movies and literary works for the loss of revenue through free download of works via gadgets such as MP3s, MP4s, cellphones, memory cards and flash drives, among others.