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Joe Ghartey urged to stop royalty distribution
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Music of Monday, 23 July 2007

Source: ghanamusic.com/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ghanamusic.com

Joe Ghartey urged to stop royalty distribution

Hon. Joe Ghartey, Minister of Justice and Attorney General has been called upon to take a critical look at the calls for probity and accountability of top officials of the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) by certain stakeholders in the music industry.

The call was made by Faisal Helwani, a music producer and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bibini Music Production, in an interview with Beatwaves last Tuesday in Accra.

He alleged that for seven years the COSGA board had not made public the total amount collected in royalties on behalf of Ghanaian musicians.

“COSGA has been collecting and distributing royalties to musicians without telling them the mechanism or criteria used in the distribution as well as the total amount collected,” he stated.

He added that even though the Copyright Law required the Society to render accounts to musicians every year, it failed to do so.

He therefore appealed to Hon. Joe Ghartey to set up a committee to probe all office holders in the industry, including him and all other musicians who have once held office in the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) or COSGA.

As a first step, Faisal said, the Minister of Justice should stop COSGA from distributing royalties for now because the stakeholders do not know the total amount collected on behalf of musicians.

He explained that under the new Copyright Act 690 section 49 (1), “Authors, producers, performers and publishers may form collective administration societies for the promotion and protection of their interest; (2) A collective administration society may, acting on the authority of the owner of a right, collect and distribute royalties and other remuneration accruing to the owner; (3) the minister may by legislative instrument make regulations for the formation, operation and administration of societies”, adding the Copyright Act forbids COSGA from collecting and distributing royalties on behalf of right owners.

According to him, the Attorney General should place an embargo on all funds collected on behalf of copyright owners for a probe to be conducted to know how much money had been collected so far on behalf of the right owners and also pave way for the introduction of a Legislative Instrument (LI).

Some of the stakeholders, he said, had worked hard to establish a vibrant industry but their characters had been assassinated to prevent them from checking wrongdoing. He pointed out that he had been in the music industry for 42 years and that he knew what he was taking about.

Faisal, who owns Bibini Music, the first music production company in Ghana, said he has stopped working until a committee is established to probe the industry to clear those who have contributed to its collapse.

Finally, he said, “Personally I don’t have a problem with anybody.

It is those who are misleading the industry ignorantly or deliberately that I have problems with. We are fighting them over issues.”

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