THE General Manager (GM) of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO), Mr Jonathan Cudjoe, has stated that his outfit and the Accra Diocese of the Anglican Church have come to an agreement on a series of negotiations to arrive at a specific amount to be paid as royalty by churches per annum.
That, he said, would set the tone for other churches to follow suit in accordance with the Copyright Act 2005, Act 690.
Section 37 (1) of the Act states: “Where in any public place by means of broadcasting, cinematography, jukebox, or other apparatus, a sound recording or audio visual work is used, the authorized performer and producer of the sound recording or audio visual work shall be entitled to royalty in accordance with this Act.”
“We have engaged the Anglican Church and we have agreed and negotiated on the fee to be paid every year,” Mr Cudjoe said.
In an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on March 1, 2019 in Accra, Mr Cudjoe added that they were impressed by the church’s commitment and willingness to fulfil its responsibility with regard to the law.
He explained that the payment would be based on the number of churches under the dioceses, and due to this, they had created categories for each diocese which would determine the fee they were entitled to pay.
Mr Cudjoe further stated that the role of GHAMRO was to license, collect and distribute royalties to right owners for the use of their work anywhere it was used in public and they would stand by that all the time.
He added that non-payment of copyright royalties by churches denied many right owners access to revenue from the use of their work, hence the need to collect those royalties.
“We realise that if we leave out churches which are public places, we are denying a vast majority of our right owners’ revenue for the use of their work,” he said.
The officer at GHAMRO in charge of collection of church royalties, Mr Obed Aryeh, underscored challenges GHAMRO faced with regard to collection of royalties.
He said dealing with the umbrella bodies of which the various churches fall under was a major challenge. According to him, going after the numerous churches individually was a really hectic task.
Citing the charismatic churches for instance, he said: “For the charismatic churches, it has been a challenge because we are not able to deal with the main group and if we are not able to do that then we have to come to individual churches and that has been a great challenge. It is easier to deal with the head,” he said.
He stated that their work would be easy if they were able to get the council that supervised the churches to make the collection flexible.
He added that one of the challenges had to do with the understanding of the copyright laws. According to Mr Aryeh, many people do not really understand the concept of the Copyright Law and, therefore, they do not see the need to pay.
He, however, reiterated GHAMRO’s mandate to educate people on payment of copyright royalties and the general concept of copyright.