Ghana: Musiga Schooled Members On Royalty Payment

18 January 2020

The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) has organised a workshop to educate members on royalty payment in Accra recently.

The maiden workshop royalty payment was attended by acting President Rev. Bessa Simon, aspiring president Ras Caleb Appiah, Afro Moses, Rev. Yawson, Officer Kwasi Ofori Appiah (Watch Your Tongue Founder), MhiKhi, Joe Wizzyn including board members Hellen Oduro and Goldmann.

The guest speaker, Prezedent Kennedy Mensah (Managing Director, Back 2 Da Future) a publishing company and performance right organisation, encouraged participants to seek guidance when signing agreements with any company.

Afro Moses, a Ghanaian International musician based in Australia applauded the unity and oneness currently emanating in the union and gave confidence to unite for the betterment of Musicians Union of Ghana and its progress.

Mr Benjamin Oduro Arhin Jnr, a Creative Arts Business & Intellectual Property Consultant said because artist could not directly collect these payments, "collective management organisation (CMO) or Performance Right Organisation (PRO) are empowered by law to collect and distribute royalties,"

Adding, 'if artists are not satisfied with the collection and distribution process, it beholds them to take legal action to test the system to strengthen and scrutinise CMOs and PRO operations."

Also known as Bnoskka, he further stated that hurling curses will not solve the problem but rather testing the law in Court on royalty payment and the operations of collective management organisation like GHAMRO will help straighten things in the industry.

Bnoskka is to stage in contributing to workshop on the need to know the history of royalty payment in United Kingdom beginning with landlords and their Serfs. Then he narrated the radical stands two musicians took and the legal battle that ensued after there, warranting the courts to rule that end users should pay royalties to musicians for their continuous usage.

One might be thinking why should end users pay for the usage of a record they have legitimately acquired? The long and short is that free usage is only limited to private usage but not commercial usage. Hence any activity which sort of exposes or communicates music for public entertainment needs to accrue financial benefit to the musician. Thus end users need to pay royalties.

Bnoskka further stated that curses will not solve the problem but rather testing the law in court on royalty payment and the operations of collective management organisation like GHAMRO will help straighten things in the industry.

Speaking to the press after the workshop Mr Arhin Jnr said "The beginning of royalty payment in the world happed after a court ruling that end users must pay musicians"

Mr Ras Caleb Appiah shared his experience dealing with royalty payments he received for his artist in other African countries and asserted we could do similar in Ghana if Ghana Music Right Owners's ( GHAMRO) will take the lead.

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