Copyright advocate, musician and producer Carlos Sakyi on Monday visited the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to file a copyright theft case against the Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry (GAPI) in connection with the recent arrest of Francis Mensah Twum for internet piracy.
Francis Mensah Twum, a project coordinator of GAPI was on Tuesday February 11 arrested by the police for selling musical works of Ghanaian musicians on the internet without permission and approval from the right owners.
Carlos’ visit to the CID headquarters was to make a formal report to the police against GAPI for downloading and selling on the internet an album, ‘Adom’ (Grace) by celebrated gospel artiste Nana Frimpong, which he (Carlos) and Kofi Oppong produced, without their approval.
Soon after Twum’s arrest, a number of prominent musicians including Akosua Agyapong, Paa Willie, Obuoba J.A Addo and a host of others whose musical works are being sold on the internet without their consent, visited the CID offices to make a formal complaint against the suspect.
Speaking in an interview after he had filed the theft case against GAPI, Carlos explained that GAPI, made up of music producers, put out the said album for sale in 2006 in several countries through the internet and claimed copyright for the album it did not produce.
The album, according to Carlos, is sold in the United States of America, Canada and several European countries such as Sweden, UK, Finland, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany and other countries without the consent of the producers and the artiste.
Carlos Sakyi, who is also the chairman of Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO), a collective society, said this was a clear case of copyright infringement by GAPI, adding that the association had violated the economic and moral rights of the producers and artistes.
The copyright Act 690 section 43 states that ‘A person who infringes a right protected under this act commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than one thousand penalty units or not less than five hundred penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than three years or to both, and in the case of a continuing offence to a further fine of not less than twenty-five penalty units and not more than one hundred penalty units for each day during which the offence continues.’
Carlos, in an interview stressed, ‘Our works have been uploaded on the internet for sale since 2006 without our permission. We have not assigned any of our works to GAPI to sell them through the internet. The law must take its cause to curb the increasing rate of music piracy and bring those involved to face prosecution.
‘We are going to ensure that the law takes it cause because the matter is a violation of the copyright law local and international and it is a criminal offence. Those who called themselves industry players protecting the work of the artistes are the same people who go behind closed doors to pirate the works and sell it through the internet.’
Mr Sakyi further said since he took over Ghana Music Right Organisation (GHAMRO) as its chairman, there have been consistent unjustified attacks on his image without legitimate basis through the making of false, baseless and irresponsible statements, mostly acts of defamation that have created division in the ranks of music stakeholders, adding that this time round he would not hesitate to take legal action to serve as a deterrent.
He continued that within two years in office, GHAMRO had made systematic progress and it was only the ignorant or those blinded by selfish ambition who saw nothing positive about the gains made.
By George Clifford Owusu ( [email protected] mailto:[email protected] )
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