Convener of arts-based pressure group of experts, Federation Of Concerned Arts Professionals (FOCAP), Kojo Preko Dankwa has lamented over the poor manner in which royalties in the creative arts industry is collected.
He shared a piece comparing Ghana’s Collective Management Organizations to Kenya which exposes loopholes in the country’s collective organisation.
The host of Kasapa Entertainment on Kasapa 102.5FM suggested that for the CMOs to improve on their task, they need to be restructured properly.
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My day starts 4am and it becomes hectic around 5:30am when I have gotten to the office to prepare for the morning show production and also serve listeners from 6am – 10am with the best of events spanning from politics to general issues.
One thing after morning show that really dropped in my mind was to really find out what can be done to make our creative industry a powerful one.
Recently an issue raised by my brother Enoch Agyepong about one of the major branches of the creative industry, GHAMRO, an issue which I definitely know most colleagues in the same industry would not discuss though is a major issue with regards to the royalties distribution to our loyal dedicated industry players.
Before I touch on Enoch Agyepong’s concern about the Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) and some of their members who had issues to be resolved.
The order from the Attorney General Department as per what the committee had investigated is a good progress made so far since the said committee is on with the thorough audit of GHAMRO which we are all waiting for the outcome.
Now to the issue of logging in of music by media houses to enable sanity check in the distribution of royalties to musicians whose songs are played on all radio stations across the country has not seen any improvement yet.
It’s been six (6) years since a certificate of Approval to operate as a collective management organization for Music Rights but GHAMRO is yet to gain grounds concerning collections from these radio stations.
Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) under the copyright law 690 and Ll 1962 was approved as the sole Ghanaian copyright entity licensed by law to undertake such project for musical works, sound recording and performances.
Though I perceive it as not the best way to give all collection to one organization, I am waiting for a debate and a force that can help debate and change the trend now.
A study into Kenya’s collective management organisation where they also practice similar under their copyright board (Kenya copyright board- protecting copyright, encouraging creativity) indicates that they have four main licensed collective management organizations (CMOs) namely:
1- Reproduction Rights Society of Kenya
2- Performers Association of music producers
3- Music publishers Association of Kenya
4- Kenya Association of Music producers .
These four major CMOs are licensed and supervised by the Kenya copyright board. They all have their duties and responsibilities to play which benefits their members.
I will ask again, is it advisable to have one sole entity called GHAMRO as the sole Ghanaian copyright entity licensed by law to undertake such project for musical works, sound recording and performances. Experts of intellectual properties, royalties and expertise in CMOs will have to sit and restructure the collection organisation properly.
GHAMRO have serious decisions to take for it’s members but are they given the opportunity, the necessary support by stakeholders to really do undertake activities for the organization? I believe if GHAMRO have the capacity or given the sole upper hand to run and restructure the collection department well, I am certain what the industry has been fighting for like a logging system would have been in place and we would not have members of the same association taking its own organization to Attorney General to audit its financial statement and constitution.
I have some news for the CMOs in Ghana a really good one because I believe the initiative will help streamline these organizations and the betterment of its members .
My radar settled on Kenya’s collection force where they have a workable Collective Rights Management with a regulatory framework that promote Transparency, Accountability and good governance among the Kenyan collective management organizations (CMOs). In Ghana (presently) there is no regulation that guides the promotion of the values of Transparency Accountability and Good governance in the CMOs.
The introduction of this regulations shall definitely improve the operations of the CMOs through enhanced supervisory structures. It will also set in place statutory parameters and standards for assessing the PERFORMANCE of the CMOs and as well as conditions and procedures under which a CMO can be put to task to improve it’s commitment to upholding the required standards of the service delivery to it’s members/rights owners.
Kenya’s lessons is looking for an oversight body to really have effective and efficient means of addressing complaints and concerns raised in the industry and this will curb the excessive politicization of concerns raised by stakeholders.
As I write this article, Kenya has completed a successful draft and it’s before authorities for adoption. One major points that makes me happy with the Kenyans move is that they believe in is one great exercise to the realization of it’s vision 2030 (development of music and film industry) as it is representational of the core values requisite in the holistic development of the nation to improve collection of license fee and greater Revenue for right holders .
Their vision 2030 aims is to also improve the economic standards of all citizens and more so the youth.
After lessons like this I sat done after taking a deep breath, asked myself some questions;
1- Apart from the mission and vision of these CMOs in Ghana what has been the new initiative?
2- Kenya is looking into the future with vision 2030 and really connecting and aligning with the bigger picture (the nations agenda)
3- They (Kenya) has moved beyond just creation of CMOs to collective Rights Management-Regulations to help play the watchdog role.
Kenyans went further to employ consultants – Nicolas Jondet, a legal academic specialist in intellectual property and technology law, a researcher with the SCRIPT Research Centre in IP and technology law based in Edinburgh law school (read more about him).
Dr Smita Kheria – a lecturer in intellectual property in law in Edinburgh law school,she also practice as an advocate in commercial and intellectual property law .(read more about her) .
This is a serious industry in the making and how effective their institutions. Ghana let’s find our future in the creative industry and stop the politics and cheap talk. Let’s stop the lip service and act on our words. Leadership in the creative industry should rise up and focus.
By KOJO PREKO DANKWA