Help protect our intellectual property —MUSIGA to Attorney General
In a bid to safeguard the rights of musicians and protect their intellectual property, the Vice-President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Rev. Dr Thomas Yawson, has called on the Attorney General’s (AG) Department to take legal action against media houses and other entities exploiting musicians' works without proper compensation.
He made the call at a stakeholders engagement organised by the National Commission on Culture (NCC) in Accra recently under the UNESCO-Aschberg programme for 400 emerging artistes and creative professionals across the country.
Rev. Yawson emphasised the prevalence of copyright and piracy issues in the country and highlighted the impact such acts had on musicians. He cited instances where even media houses used intellectual properties without paying the artistes.
Stressing the urgency of addressing this longstanding problem, he said: “Copyright and piracy issues are very prevalent in our country. Outfits such as media houses are using the intellectual properties of musicians for their operations; yet, they are not paying. There is the need for the AG department to ensure media houses pay for the songs they use,” Rev. Yawson explained.
Expressing concern for both established musicians and up-and-coming talents, Rev. Yawson revealed MUSIGA had plans to bring together sellers of music on pen drives and register them on a platform to enable the Union to monitor their operations.
This move, according to him, was aimed at establishing a system where a portion of the proceeds from such sales would be directed to deserving musicians.
"While we can't stop them, I suggest we get them to come together and register on a common platform. We give them cards so that at the end of the day, they can contribute something from what they have sold to the musicians, and that is what we are going to do now," he stated.
Also, Rev. Yawson urged musicians to stay informed about evolving trends in the music industry. He emphasised the need for training for musicians to equip them with the skills required to navigate the dynamic landscape effectively.
“We need lots of training. Most of our musicians are not abreast of these dynamics, and so when they go to the studio, they have no choice but to go with whatever the producer gives them," he noted.
While encouraging diversification, Rev. Yawson advised musicians to explore other ventures and invest in them to secure additional income streams beyond the music industry.
He highlighted the significance of financial stability through diversified income sources in the ever-changing music landscape.
“Do something else in addition to music. The big musicians out there have other investments, they do not only focus on music,” he added.