Songwriters, composers, recording artistes, and their respective representatives have raised several concerns about the ineffective way their royalties are collected and distributed since the inception of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO).
Accoridng to US-based veteran Ghanaian musician and songwriter, Victor Tieku, most of these creatives are currently in distress, and monies from the usage of their intellectual properties could have saved the situation.
Unfortunately, the collective society, he said, has always resorted to loud excuses and not addressing the pertinent issues to enable the rights owners have their complaints properly addressed.
Little or no pragmatic measures have been put in place to satiate basic demands of the rights owners, he added.
He stated that members of the organisation have been taken for granted for far too long and at this point, they deserve full accountability from the elected directors and management of their intellectual properties.
“The royalty system at GHAMRO, from collection through disbursement, lacks transparency and one wonders why this secrecy. This is endemic, prior leaders have run GHAMRO with the same faulty model over the years,” he disclosed.
He mentioned that per the global standard, database of a Collective Management Organisation (CMO) should be public knowledge, but it’s a different case in Ghana where the list of registered members is concealed.
He added, “To date, rights owners are kept in the dark of the formula or method through which royalties are distributed.”
“Haziness in our copyright administration gives credence to series of corruption allegations levelled against the leadership of GHAMRO. Their reluctance to migrate monitoring, licensing and distribution of royalties to digital platforms suggest a cover up of rot,” he stressed.
He revealed that in 2014, a host of rights owners dragged a former Board Chairman, Carlos Sakyi, to court for dissipating of funds to the disadvantage of rights owners.
“But today, misappropriation of funds and condition of rights owners under the current leadership is the worst ever,” he pointed out.
“The interim board members need to tell the general assembly why they’re holding on to power.
It’s heartbreaking to see the CEO still at post,” he indicated.
The opinion was authored by Victor Tieku, a traditional leader, an instrumentalist, songwriter, singer, record producer, music publisher and multiprenuer.