The senior copyright administrator and music publisher for West and Central Africa at Sheer Publishing, Seidu Iddrisu, has disclosed that about 95% of music works in Ghana are under copyright disputes.
He made this shocking revelation on the back of the case between Kyrani Ayat and the Ghana Tourism Authority in an interview with Helen Appiah Ampofo on the 3FM Sunrise Morning Show.
According to him, people work without discussing and agreeing on how the proceeds will be split from the beginning. Therefore, they fight over copyrights when the song starts generating revenue from multiple sources. And instead of going back and discussing amicably, each one tries to sign different deals with the song.
“There is a huge challenge pulling everyone back because people are working without a proper agreement, in terms of rights ownership. About 95% of works in Ghana are in dispute over copyright ownership. Meanwhile, this is simple meter data information. Once you do this in the agreement, everyone involved is supposed to be aware of what they will get,” Seidu Iddrisu explained.
“Generally, we don’t see music as a business in this country, and that is the main problem. If you see it as a business, you’ll have to respect the business. Thus, you reach out to the right owner for permission to use his or her work.”
He explained that music is a capital-intensive business that requires recording, mixing, mastering, marketing and promotion. All of which is done with the money.
However, the right owner can make more money from synchronization deals, which include someone using the song for an advert or movie soundtrack.
The international copyright administrator blamed the people leading the creative industry, especially the Ghana Copyright Office, for their inability to institute appropriate systems and enforce ownership.
“Even if the person doesn’t have a publisher, the industry has a collecting management organisation (CMO). So if you don’t know the owner of the song but want to use it, you have to go to that CMO and ask for them to license the song for you to have the right to use it,” Iddrisu advised.
By Samuel Afriyie Owusu|3news.com|Ghana