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Ghanaian Musicians Ask, "Where Is The Money?"
Ghana's Copyright Implementation Limbo Means No Money For Musicians
By Kwaku (Black Music Congress)
(more articles from this author)
2009-04-28
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Although Ghanaian musicians have been in celebratory mood this month, following the recent glitzy 10th Ghana Music Awards, some musicians and industry professionals are now asking "where is the money?" At recent seminars, including Making Money From Music, which was organised by UK-based Black Music Congress, the issue of songwriters and musicians not receiving their public performance royalties was the recurrent topic.

Since Ghana passed its latest Copyright Act in 2005, according to the Copyright Office, it has not been implemented because the Legislative Instrument (LI) which should govern how the Act is applied is not in place. Lobbyists concerned about certain sections of the Act, notably the treatment of public domain and folkloric works, have consistently campaigned against an LI that maintains that everyone, including Ghanaians, should pay for the use of public domain and folkloric works.

Some broadcasters are paying, whilst most aren’t paying for their use of music. Additionally, the only collection society, Copyright Society Of Ghana (COSGA) seems moribund, as interested parties talk of forming new collection societies, which is now permitted under the new Act.

Hopes are however being pinned on new Attorney General and Justice Minister Betty Mould-Iddrisu keeping the LI issue high up the Government’s agenda, because of her experience as a former Copyright Administrator. Or else the level of piracy will increase, non-payment of rights usage will become deeply entrenched, and majority of the creative community will remain poor.

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