Gospel Artistes manager and board member of Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO), Ernest Kwasi Enim has thrown ‘punches’ at the Copyright Ghana for failing to safeguard the intellectual properties of entertainers.
The Chief Executive Officer of Media Excel Production seemed furious about how nothing has been done to arrest and prosecute pirates for reproducing others work for profit without permission in contravention of patent.
Kwasi Ernest in an interview with Hitz Fm, said Copyright Office takes about 6% of total revenue from GHAMRO for the purpose of fighting piracy in Ghana yet they have been unable to set up strong Task Force to bring perpetrators to book for infringing the copyright of Ghanaian entertainers.
Sharing a past experienced, the regular pundit on radio and television said he has severally seized and destroyed copyrighted compact disc (cds) from recalcitrant persons seen in traffics and other hideouts selling to make profit at the expense of the right owners of the creation.
Kwasi indicated that if Copyright cannot be in control of affairs to protect musicians’ hardwork then they (GHAMRO) are demanding a refund of the about 6% revenue collected from them to fight their OWN piracy.
“For any revenue GHAMRO receives, Copyright Office takes not less than 3% to 6% of that money to fight piracy in Ghana. Most of these young men seen at their hideouts and in traffic reproduce our works and sell it so cheap and it baffles me why we continue to produce because it looks like fetching water into a basket, there is absolutely no protection anywhere.
“These young men are reaping musicians off their daily bread. I sometimes park my cars and chase these guys and seize the pirated cds from them. They are the reason why the music industry is struggling. Musicians are crying because these young guys are selling the reproduced cds to the public and making good money from the sales.
“The authorities mandated to arrest these guys are sitting in their offices and doing nothing so I’m pleading with Aunty Yaa (Acting Copyright Administrator) to release our monies to us. We want to take our destiny into our own hands to fight piracy in Ghana. Where the matter has gotten to is becoming like Copyright Office is handicapped and they have failed in the aspect of protecting intellectual property in Ghana.
“We should all be concerned about this matter and to plead with her to release our monies to us because we are capable of arresting these people and allow the law to jail them.”
When asked if as a stakeholder he has reached out to Ms Yaa Attafua, Acting Copyright Administrator, he replied, “Yes and I have been one person fighting for this all this while. I told her that the tactics she is using to fight piracy isn’t working so she should up her game. They should give us our money back so we fight for our own destiny.”
Kwasi Ernest who is shocked with regards to the enough money paid to Copyright Office yet they have not be able to purchase vehicles to fight the illegal copying of musicians’ property.
The Copyright Office is the Government Agency responsible for the implementation of the copyright and related statutes and regulations. The office was established in 1985, pursuant to the copyright law (1985) PNDC Law 110. PNDC Law 110 has been repealed and replaced with the copyright Act (2005), Act 690.
The Copyright Office performs the following statutory functions in line with section 66 of the Copyright Act.
- It is responsible for the administration of the copyright.
- In pursuance of its objectives the Copyright Office performs the following functions;
- Implements Copyright and Copyright related laws and regulations and provide for Copyright administration.
- Investigates and redresses cases of infringement of Copyright and settle disputes where these disputes have not been reserved for settlement by the Copyright tribunal.
- Responsible for the administration of external copyright relations.
- Administers Copyright of which the state is owner.
- Carries out other duties in relation to Copyright administration.
- Registers Copyright works, productions, publications and associations.
- Organizes seminars, conferences and workshops to educate the general populace and Copyright owners in particular on their rights and obligations under the Law.
In Ghana, the copyright industries, among others include the composers, actresses/actors, film’s producers/directors, music producers, promoters, authors of textbooks/fiction, broadcasting; derivative works; etc. It is the committed aim of the Copyright Office to continuously play its role locally and internationally through its continuous membership of the World Intellectual Property Organization [WIPO], its compliance with the TRIPS Agreement and similar bodies to ensure that international trade in goods and services of the copyright’s sector are allowed to flourish.