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Mr Benjamin Oduro Arhin Jnr explaining a point to the participants
Mr Benjamin Oduro Arhin Jnr explaining a point to the participants
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Take legal actions against DJs for using your songs for adverts - Bnoskka to musicians 

The National Expert for the UNESCO-Aschberg Programme in Ghana, Benjamin Oduro Arhin Jnr, has admonished radio and television presenters to refrain from playing someone’s song while advertising for a product or service.

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He said it is unethical for radio and TV presenters to do ‘logging’ (playing someone’s song at the background whilst advertising) without authorisation from the artiste who composed the song.

He said many radio and TV presenters in the country use people’s songs for adverts without authorisation from the musicians, describing the practice as an upfront on the economic rights of the musicians. 

Mr Arhin, who is popularly known as ‘BNOSKKA’ said this at a UNESCO-Aschberg Programme stakeholder consultative meeting in Accra last Friday [June 7, 2024] for people in the creative arts industry.

Programme 

The programme, which was on the theme: “Empowering artists through policy formulation and robust legal framework: An engagement with artists on inputs into cultural policy, copyright and other related laws” brought together artists and cultural professionals in the Greater Accra region and its environs, including musicians, painters, craft makers, and fashion designers.

The UNESCO Aschberg programme protects and promotes artistic freedom, including the status of the artist in the broad sense, providing technical assistance and expertise for the revision of legal, policy, and regulatory frameworks.

The programme enhances public understanding of the important role of artists and cultural professionals for the creative economy, cultural diversity, and artistic freedom via innovative communication and advocacy initiatives as well as creative partnerships between governments and civil society organisations.

Court system 

Bnoskka said using someone’s song for commercial purposes without giving part of the proceeds to the song owner denies the song composer the right to enjoy from his creativity, encouraging musicians to take legal actions against such radio and TV presenters.

For him, if musicians fail to test the laws regarding copyrights, their rights will continue to be violated by members of the public, particularly those who use their creative works for commercial purposes.

“Let’s try to use the court system,” he stated, observing that people are enjoying certain rights today because others used the laws to secure such privileges.

For him, many people in the creative arts industry were unaware of the copyright laws to protect their works and enjoy from their creativity.
Bnoskka also encouraged musicians to stop paying money to DJs to play their songs.

For his part, UNESCO Representative to Ghana, Edmond Moukala, described the UNESCO-Aschberg Programme for artists and cultural professionals as a beacon of support for the creative sector in the country, offering a lifeline to artists and cultural professionals.

He said the programme since its inception has evolved over the years to become a crucial instrument in promoting the protection of cultural expressions.

He explained that by assisting policymakers and government institutions in adapting or creating policies, laws, and regulations that protect and promote the status of artists and cultural professionals, the Aschberg Programme is unlocking creative futures for all.

Mr Moukala said cultural and creative industries are major drivers of the economies of developed as well as developing countries, capitalising US$2250 billion and nearly 30 million jobs worldwide.

He commended the National Commission on Culture for its drive to equip artists and cultural professionals with the knowledge of relevant policies and legal frameworks governing the cultural and creative space within the country.  

The Deputy Executive Director of the National Commission on Culture, Dr Fio Richardson Commey, said the Commission would continue to build the capacity of artists and cultural professionals in the country.

He described the exercise as an eye opener for many of the participants, stressing that the initiative underscores the importance of creating an enabling legal environment that recognises artists as professionals, safeguarding their social and economic rights, and ensuring they can live off their creativity. 

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