Bessa Simons, MUSIGA President
A section of Ghanaian musicians has expressed dissatisfaction with the way the Copyright Monitoring Team (CMT) has tackled issues of music piracy, saying the team has not paid much attention to the menace.
They accused the copyright monitoring team, which was launched in July 2018, of not doing its best in arresting those behind music piracy in Ghana.
The CMT’s mandate, BEATWAVES gathered, was to monitor copyright works in Ghana, investigate cases in respect of copyright, undertake anti-piracy exercises and perform other functions that were necessary to protect music stakeholders.
According to the musicians, piracy undermined the legitimate market, impoverished music right owners including producers and deprived government of its tax revenue.
They mentioned that piracy had for many years been destroying the music industry as it had prevented several musicians like Daddy Lumba, Amakye Dede, Rex Omar and Pat Thomas among others who had the potential for releasing albums every year from doing so.
They noted that Ghana’s music industry had been on the decline over the years due to the laxity of laws that had to check the activities of music pirates, adding that the proliferation of modern technology was hampering the efforts of music stakeholders to combat piracy.
They revealed that music pirates downloaded music on pen drives and CDs among others and sold them on some principal streets as well as some of market centres especially in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Cape Coast.
They added that the difficulty in enforcing laws against piracy of music in the country was a serious canker, adding that pirated versions of creative works covered at least 60 per cent of the market in Accra and Kumasi—the figure could be as high as 75 per cent.
In a separate interview, the musicians emphasized that though some of them were doing all they could to fight piracy, what they required most to be successful in their bid was massive government support.
They urged that the Copyright Office together with the CMT to set education and awareness creation campaigns by using the media to educate the public about the activities of music pirates.
The musicians, who described music pirates in the country as thieves, also called for effective legal system in the country to deal with offenders.
They, however, suggested the involvement of IT experts in the fight against piracy so that a means could be used to ensure musical works could not be downloaded.
By George Clifford Owusu