Beneficiaries of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) are unlikely to receive royalties now as the organisation’s license has been withheld based on Section 24 of the Copyright Legislative Instrument.
The Chairman of GHAMRO’s Interim Management Committee, Rex Omar, revealed this in a press conference held on Thursday, June 1, 2023, at the Teachers Hall Complex in Accra.
“GHAMRO’s operating license is being withheld by the regulator through the copyright office. Therefore, GHAMRO would not be able to distribute any collection as it is unable to follow the collection mandate until the license is renewed,” he revealed.
Rex Omar said, “It is rather unfortunate that after the Attorney General’s Office Roadmap has almost been completed with the exception of an appealed case yet to be declared, GHAMRO is being asked to go back to start the recommendation of the Efua Sutherland Committee’s report”.
He added that in 2020 GHAMRO submitted all the requisite documentation for the renewal of its license in June 2022.
According to reports, the copyright office, through a letter dated Wednesday, May 17 2023, has requested that GHAMRO agrees to suspend its cases in court, re-adopt Prof Efua Sutherland’s Report, and readmit the dissolved Election Committee to organise new elections.
The latest development follows a call by legendary highlife artiste and dancer Akosua Agyapong asking for the organisation’s office to be closed due to poor management.
Ms Adjapong and other notable persons have been on campaigns discouraging music users from payments for the use of protected music regulated under the law.
Mr Omar added that GHAMRO officials had suffered physical attacks due to Ms Agyapong’s campaign.
“Over a period of one year that the regulator has withheld our licence, these same disgruntled members, led by Akosua Agyepong, have been jumping from radio station to radio station, media house to media house, TV station to TV station, asking people, users, not to pay to GHAMRO,” he said. “To the extent that some of our staff would go out and would be beaten – the regulator is aware of this, and nothing has been done.”
He revealed that “under normal circumstances, GHAMRO distributes twice a year. So, this month, June, GHAMRO is supposed to distribute,” however, the challenge is that the organisation has “not been able to collect, so we cannot distribute”.
He reiterated the “long-term agenda of GHAMRO” to “restructure the society along the tenets of a well-managed collecting organisation…”.
Rex Omar has assured members of GHAMRO that leadership has written a petition to the Attorney General registering their displeasure about the directive.
He also indicated that although the organisation is barred from distributing royalties, it can still collect royalties and wait till its licence is renewed before issuance to rightful owners.