The Ghana Association of Phonographic Industries (GAPI) said it was considering filing a legal suit against the Government of Ghana because government and other state institutions used Ghanaian music works without paying royalties.
Project Coordinator for GAPI, Francis Mensah Twum told Adom Entertainment News the Information Services Department (ISD), and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) use Ghanaian music in their vans that go round to educate the public, but they do not pay royalties.
He also cited political parties for the same offence, saying that GAPI is speaking with its lawyers to prepare a legal suit against the offenders which, including the government.
Mr. Twum Mensah however noted that alternatively, government could support the forthcoming Copyright Bank/Fund with seed capital to compensate for the millions of cedis of accumulated in unpaid royalties it owed the industry.
He explained that apart from government not paying royalties due the industry, government also delayed the passage of the Copyright Law, and it took another four years before it enacted the Legislative Instrument to make the law operational.
“This allowed piracy to continue and the industry lost an average of $30 million a year, which amounted to about a $400 million loss over the period,” he said.
Mr. Mensah Twum also noted that copyright owners used to benefit from the import tax on mobile phones but since government removed that tax, the industry lost that benefit, and government did not also make any provision in the talk tax for the music industry.
He said GAPI was seeking to raise a seed capital of one million Ghana cedis to start the Copyright Bank and it therefore expected government to contribute to that money to support industry players.
“GAPI has set aside some GHC20,000 from our own resources and we have asked all our members to also forfeit their royalties for the next five years so the money could be accumulated to top-up the seed capital for the Copyright Bank,” he said.
Mr. Twum acknowledged that the GHC2million government earmarked for the music industry recently, was a good gesture but the money had still not been delivered to the industry, adding that even if it was delivered, it will be used for specific projects outside of the Copyright Bank.
Mr. Twum said GAPI was also looking to rope in a number of strategic investors to support the formation of the Bank, adding that the bank would provide credit to musicians and allow them to use their royalties as collateral.
He said, to reduce the risk of lending, the Business Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) fund had support GAPI to design a plan to ensure quality music production, proper regulation of the industry, protection of the copyright properties, and ready avenues for sales of music works.