The General Manager of Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO), Jonathan Cudjoe has stated that the Copyright society is deserving of copyright royalties from Churches for their use of music.
Churches according to him are public places where public performances of music created by others are played often, hence the need to bring them within the reach of the Copyright Act 2005, Act 67.
As Section 37(1) and (2) of the Copyright Act states that any artistic work used in a public place shall be entitled to copyright royalties.
“(1) Where in any public place, by means of broadcasting, cinematography, jukebox or other apparatus, a sound recording or audio visual work is used, the authorised performer and producer of the sound recording or audio visual work shall be entitled to royalty in accordance with this Act.”
“(2) An owner of copyright is entitled to collect royalties for the live performance of the copyright work or for the public performance of the recorded copyright work.”
According to him, the move is aimed at generating even more revenue for music creators whose artistic outputs are being used for free in a setting like the Church. He said,
“We are dealing with the dioceses and we are currently dealing with the Accra local churches, which will be the first to be licensed.
Despite our challenges and engagements, we will still insist that our users pay what is expected of them and for us. We will be hard if our users fail to comply.”
The push for royalty collection from churches is said to begin in Accra and subsequently move to other cities in the country. He further hinted that GHAMRO is working on collecting royalties from online sources though speaking on possible drawbacks in that regard.
“The challenge with online, unlike the public performance, is that people use gadgets at their own time and convenience, so getting them to pay will be difficult,” he added.