BEATWAVES investigations have revealed that a number of several creative art players, especially music rights owners are preparing to petition President Mahama to dissolve the Copyright Office for its failure to check massive piracy currently bedevilling the Ghanaian creative sector.
Music, film and book piracy are at unprecedented levels, with the Copyright Office looking on unconcerned despite billions of old Cedis at its disposal from the levy on devices capable of reproducing copyright works.
BEATWAVES gathered that over the past two years, the Copyright Office had been unable to effectively curb blatant piracy in Ghana.
Further information BEATWAVES gathered indicates that one of the private Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) set up under the Copyright Act, Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) within the first year of its existence organised several raids on pirates culminating in the arrest, prosecution and jailing of several pirates by the courts.
On contacting GHAMRO on the matter, GHAMRO’s key leaders, Carlos Sakyi and his two deputies, Amandzeba Nat Brew and Apostle K.K. Kabobo, described the current leadership of the Copyright Office as totally ineffective, divisive and lacking the competence to develop the Copyright Sector.
They disclosed that GHAMRO was is in the process of informing the Attorney-General (A-G) of its decision to deal directly with the office of the A-G and not the Copyright Office as happened under former A-G Betty Mould-Iddrisu, and that the A-G must do due diligence to establish whether the Copyright Office is properly constituted legally.
They pointed out that according to Section 68 of the Copyright Act, all staff of the Copyright Office must be appointed by the President in consultation with the Legal Service Board and the Public Services Commission which they believe ‘is not currently the case’.
According to them, the current officer in charge of the Copyright Office, Madam Yaa Attafua, ‘Is operating in an acting capacity, in lieu of the appointment of a substantive Copyright Administrator.’
Furthermore, Sections 72 and 73 of Copyright Act 690 enjoin the Copyright Office to submit audited accounts to the Minister of Justice who in turn must present it to Parliament.
They also pointed out their bewilderment at the Copyright Office’s silence on the recent arrest by the police of music producer Francis Mensah Twum of GAPI for massive internet piracy involving GAPI (an association of music producers) of over 5000 Ghanaian songs.
The GHAMRO leaders also stated that as a result of lack of supervision of activities of the Copyright Office, GAPI had been operating without proper checks and balances to the detriment of stakeholders and government, culminating in the office playing a major role in the collapse and bankrupt state of COSGA at its point of liquidation.
Private stakeholders including GHAMRO, after rescuing the situation and paying off COSGA’s debts, are once again being undermined.
They advised the other Collective Management Organisations (CMOs), ARSOG for audiovisuals and CopyGhana for literary works to be wary of the destabilisation and toxic tactics of certain people.
By George Clifford Owusu ([email protected])
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