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Entertainment of Friday, 31 January 2003

Source: .

FOX FM, OTHERS TO PAY ?316m

— As royalties to musicians

A TUG-OF-WAR is going on between officials of the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) and management of Fox FM, Otec FM and five other radio stations in Kumasi over the payment of royalties worth 316 million cedis.

COSGA is demanding 62million from Fox FM, 78million from Radio Mercury and 35million from Otec FM to cover royalties expected to have accrued between January and December 2002. Separate bills of 35million cedis each have been prepared for Kapital Radio, Invisible FM, Ashh FM, Spirit FM and Fontomfrom TV The Executive Director of COSGA, Mr J.A. Larkai who disclosed this to Showbiz last week, said the collecting body has met with management of the radio stations on several occasions to settle the bills all to no avail.

He said some radio stations do not agree with COSGA on the system of computation used to calculate the royalties, whereas others claim they just do not have the money. Mr Larkai said the dispute arose due to the failure of the stations concerned to complete assessment forms for music works used, leaving COSGA with no option than to use its own computations.

Mr Larkai said the computation was based on the average rate card of 45 seconds by 4 minutes of advertising revenue by 12 hours of transmission by 200 days of the year and equated with the estimated gross revenue based on the percentage use of music.He said many of the radio stations outside Accra have not submitted royalty returns to COSGA since they started operation, adding that in 2001 and 2002, only LUV FM, of all such stations, submitted returns to COSGA. He said the stations have also refused to pay the compromise bill of 5million cedis each, to cover all previous years before 2002.

The executive director said through the intervention of the Minister of Information, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, GBC has agreed to pay 224million cedis as royalties for 2002 to COSGA. Mr Larkai said a court action has been served on Metro TV to pay 168million, while Top Radio, Channel R and Vibe FM in Accra have also been sued over 49million, 20million and 20million cedis respectively, for not meeting their royalty obligations for last year.

In a separate development, thirty-four hotels, night-clubs and restaurants in Accra have been served with legal writs over royalties totalling 125.7 million cedis. Mr Larkai said the clock is ticking for organisations which have not submitted returns to COSGA for 2002, as it becomes a criminal offence from March 1, 2003.

He said to prevent the recurrence of the situation in subsequent years, COSGA has appealed to the National Communications Authority (NCA), to make the fulfilment of copyright obligations, a condition for renewal of operating licences.

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