Ghana: Dialogue on controversial copyright law continues

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Dialogue on controversial copyright law continues

A new proposed Copyright Bill in Ghana creates controversy and debate.
Ghana musicians meet Minister of Justice.

A new copyright bill suggested to be inforced in Ghana has created controversy because it intends to forbid musicians to use folkloric melodies and rhythms in their music unless they get authorization to do so and pay for the use.

A Coalition of Concerned Copyright Advocates (COCCA) has successfully addressed the Ghanaian President, objecting to clause 25 of the bill, which states:

“A manufacturer, importer or publisher of sound or audio visual recording shall on the minister, purchase security device from the Internal Revenue Service as may be required to cover the number of copyright works the manufacturer, importer or publisher intends to sell or distribute. A person who sells or exhibits for sale a copyright work without security device obtained from Internal Revenue Service affixed to it commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 500 penalty units”.

The coalition consulted with, amongst others, experts from Freemuse in a letter to the president where they noted that the clause 25 is an imposition and encroachment on their fundamental human rights and freedoms.

“It takes away our very basic freedom and right to choose what system to adopt to protect our privately funded and owned intellectual property.”

The President soon after decided to intervene in the proces. As a result, in April 2005, the concerned copyright advocates had a successful two-day discussion with the Minister of Justice about the issues. The minister promised the coalition that all the problems raised will be addressed, and that he is going to sign a communique on this.

 

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