GBC sued for not paying music user royalties

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation has been sued by the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) for not paying royalties to music right owners since 2012.

In a writ sighted by Citi Showbiz, the Collective Management Organisation for music rights owners (the plaintiff) undertook an assessment of the royalties-indebtedness of the media outlets of the Defendant and it came to light that “royalties-indebtedness of the Defendant for the whole of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 remain unpaid by the Defendant.”

GHAMRO also claims that the Ghanaian Broadcasting Corporation failed to obtain user licences for the communication, use/performance of musical works of the public through its various radio and television subsidiaries.

In this regard, the Plaintiff, per the writ, bars the GBC from using musical works of its members for broadcasts until it pays its debts.

“The Plaintiff claims for perpetual injunction to restrain the Defendant from the unbridled use of members/assigns of Plaintiff organisation without authorisation.”

GHAMRO is an organisation registered under the laws of Ghana and further authorized by law to basically license, collect and distribute royalties for and on behalf of musicians/authors, composers and producers/publishers of musical works.

The organisation headed by highlife musician Rex Omar has vowed to ensure that music right owners benefit from their intellectual property.

According to the ‘Paapa’ singer who took over the reins of GHAMRO in 2016, the organisation will be embarking on an exercise to make sure all users of musical works pay for the works they ‘consume.’

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, on the other hand, has come under criticism for not giving its viewers ‘compelling content.’

The flak from the public has even increased in the wake of the recent enforcement of the TV Licence Law which requires that people who own television sets for domestic use pay GH¢36 per television set and GH¢60 for two or more TV sets in the same house, for a year.

TV set repairers and outlets shall pay GH¢60, while TV dealers pay GH¢120.

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) takes 72% of the revenue that will accrue from the collection of the TV Licence Fees. This money will be used in running the affairs of the State Broadcaster.

Few days ago it was reported that the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo had established 11 special TV Licence Courts across the regions to try defaulters of the licence fees.

The courts, which will sit in the 10 regional capitals plus Tema on Thursdays, will be presided over by 11 designated circuit court judges.

See the writ below:

By: Kwame Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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