General News of Thursday, 3 January 2019
A businessman has petitioned parliament seeking its intervention to recover ¢2.3m from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) over alleged copyright infringement by the state broadcaster.
Samuel Dzordzorme who is the CEO God’s Wisdom Enterprise claims the national broadcaster inappropriately used his design for their 80th-anniversary celebration cloth without paying for it.
In the 20 point petition addressed to the chairman of Parliament’s Select Committee on Communications and copied to the Speaker, board chair of GBC and Information Minister, the petitioner claimed his business has collapsed as a result of the situation.
According to Mr Dzordzorme, he produced GBC’s Friday wear in 2008 and his entity was subsequently given an assignment in August 2014 to produce the anniversary cloth.
“We had a call from Louis Darko (then Divisional Union Chairman) that the Acting Director General, Francisca Odomton, wants to see me. She congratulated me and said one out of our 19 samples of the cloth designs had finally been chosen, but she will advise me to change the colour (red) in the design chosen to green; and also work on the background colour to suit GBC’s colours,” the petitioner said.
“I submitted the re-designed copy a few weeks later to her and she was very happy and accepted the design. She then asked me to go and prepare an invoice for the production of 1,500 pieces of the cloth which I went back to Akosombo to do and submitted to her on 27th February 2015,” he added in a petition sighted by Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo.
But the petitioner claims he was never given the job eventually although his design was used.
“She said the quotation of the production price is high so we should forget about producing the cloths. She indicated GBC prefers to only buy my design and get someone else to produce the cloths. She then asked for the price of the design and I told her I need to meet my team on that and get back to her. She also said she will also be meeting the anniversary committee on it and so I will hear from her later,” the petition explained.
“In July 2015, whiles we were waiting to hear from GBC concerning the design as agreed at our last meeting, to our surprise, we saw our design which had been printed on GBC’s 80th-anniversary celebration cloth. All they did was to change the logo we designed, fixed in a new logo, and also defaced the original colours we used,” Mr Dzordzorme claimed.
According to him, efforts to get GBC to pay for the designs have proved futile.
“After seeing our design was used by GBC, we wrote a letter to then-acting Director-General which was received on May 30, 2016, to notify her that, our design wasn’t paid for before GBC went ahead to use it and also demanded the rest of our 18 samples of cloth designs. But the GBC didn’t reply. Till date, GBC has not paid for our design that was used for their 80th-anniversary cloth. They are also keeping the rest of the 18 samples,’” he said.
“The 18 designs GBC has locked up for about four years now has compromised our patency and damaged our business. Per the nature of our business, the 18 designs they have locked up cannot be used by my enterprise for any business anymore. This is making us lose a lot of money,” the petitioner wrote.
Now, he is turning to the Parliamentary committee with oversight responsibility for the state broadcaster to intercede.
“This is obviously unbecoming of an institution that should be helping guard the integrity of the state. I am humbly appealing to your committee to get GBC to pay us ¢500,000 as damages for the use of my design for their 80th-anniversary celebration cloth without my consent,” the petition said.
“I also appeal to your good office to get GBC to pay me ¢100,000 for each of my 18 outstanding designs they are holding on to, which will bring the amount to ¢1.8m. I also appeal to your good office to get GBC to pay interest on the two amounts at the commercial bank lending rate, calculating from the date I submitted the designs (October 20, 2014),” the petition concluded.
When Joy News reached the board of GBC, it indicated the management is aware of the issue and is handling it.
A source at the board indicated the management has made a strong case denying the claims and indicated it is ready to meet the businessman in court over the issue.