Ace rapper, Okyeame Kwame has expressed concerns about past agitations raised over the Ghana Music Right Organization (GHAMRO). His assertion comes barely a month after the appointment of the interim board of GHAMRO in which he is the interim Public Relations Officer.
On his blog, ok.ghanaweb.com, Okyeame Kwame asks if six months will be enough for the board to work effectively to prevent further agitations. Below is the unedited copy of the article,
Before I hit on my fears, I will like to share with you the background of Copyright in Ghana. Ghana’s experience with Copyright protection dates as far back as 1911.
There was the Copyright Act of UK, a standard Act or law which applied to all colonies including Ghana, then the Gold Coast until 1961 when Ghana’s own law was passed. This was the Copyright Act 85, but the provisions presented some challenges hence in 1985 there were AGITATIONS for further protection of the rights of the musicians. This is what led to the promulgation of the PNDC Law 110, which ensured a balanced protection for all works.
After 10 years, the PNDC Law 110 was repealed and replaced with Act 690 of 2005 due to AGITATIONS of authentication. This among others added to the provisions for authentication of security devices used in protecting copyrights works. It also necessitated the formation of Collective Management Societies ending the monopoly enjoyed by the Copyright Society, COSGA.
The Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) was set up in 1986 as an umbrella organization to cater for all creative works as provided under the PNDL Law 110 of 1985. Along the line, some issues cropped up leading to AGITATIONS towards an amendment of the law to conform to provisions provided under the 1992 Constitution. COSGA was subsequently liquidated in 2011 after the L.I was passed to operationalize the Copyright Act 690 of 2005.
For a broader perspective of how Collective Management Organization (C.M.O) operates, it is important to understand the existing models throughout the world and the kind of structures by which they function. Three models can be identified here i.e. Anglophone, Francophone and Regime based Societies.
Ghana practises the Anglophone model, where the highest decision making body is an elected Board of Directors with a term from two to four years which in turn appoints well qualified operating officers with the requisite knowledge in business and/or collective management administration.
This was the expectation of most Ghanaian right owners and publishers when a two year interim board for GHAMRO was set up. Issues of accountability, absence of Senior Management for example a C.E.O, end of the Board’s mandate, absence of Annual General meeting during the entire Board tenure, and the mode of distribution caused further AGITATONS leading to Nana Ampadu, Daddy Lumba, Amakye Dede among 100 others dragged this issue to court.
The outcome of the court action is that there was an interlocutory injunction to remove the Board members from office and replace it with five selected people including myself (Kwame Nsiah-Apau), Nana Aboagye Dacosta, Enoch Agyapong, two state attorneys, Ms Dorothy Habadah (Lawyer from Copyright Office) and Kow Sessah Acquaye (Lawyer from the Attorney General) to steer operations of GHAMRO in the right order for six months.
It’s only been one month and musicians have already started AGITATIONS. Our mandate is to do three things; act as receivers, managers and overseers of an election for a substantive board.
So now my fears pose questions like: Do we have enough time?
Can we be different from our predecessors?
Can this be the last AGITATION?
Only time can tell