GHAMRO in legal action against radio, TV stations

BY: Kouame Koulibaly
 Kojo Antwi — GHAMRO Board Chairman

The Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) has initiated legal action against some electronic media outfits that have failed to meet their obligations to the music royalty collecting society. 

In GHAMRO’s view, those outfits have failed to recognise the fact that composers and publishers of music should benefit from the commercial use of their musical works in public. 

The outfit, according to the chairman of the organisation’s Board of Directors, Mr. Kojo Antwi, when he spoke at their first Annual General Meeting (AGM) held last week at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST) Kumasi, included the Multimedia Group, Kencity and Global Media Alliance.

He, however, added that other electronic media houses such as Citi FM, EIB Network and the Despite Group have negotiated settlement of their indebtedness.

GHAMRO is the only organisation licensed and approved by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to collect and distribute music royalty to its members in Ghana.

The AGM was called to approve a new Constitution and also to enable members share plans on how to improve GHAMRO’s operations in the coming years.

Over 800 members, including Kofi B, Koo Nimo,  Rex Omar, Akosua Agyapong, Dan Bassey, Awurama Badu,  Nana Aboagye Da Dosta and Apogee, attended the meeting.

Commenting on some of the major achievements of the current GHAMRO Board Chairman, Mr Kojo Antwi pointed out that  royalty distribution to members last year  was over 380 percent more than what was done in 2014.

He said GHAMRO’s total distribution in 2015 was was GH¢1,605,295 as against the previous year’s  of GH¢334,181. He informed members of advanced plans for this year’s first distribution to be made before the end of this month. 

Mr. Antwi noted that during his first year as Chairman, the Board approved new tariffs for more than 10 different categories of commercial users. These ranged from radio and television stations, restaurants, hotels, chop bars, night clubs, disc jockeys, shopping malls and banking and non-banking financial institutions.

The Chief Officer of GHAMRO, Mr. Abraham Adjatey also stated that the organization’s quest to be to be at the top of its game can only come about through support of members, commitment of management, adequate investment in staff training and focus on new technological platforms such as digitisation, downloading and streaming of music.  

Special Guest of Honour at the meeting was the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kofi Boakye. He pledged the police service’s readiness to complement the efforts of GHAMRO in the discharge of its mandate.

A Senior State Attorney, Nana Ama Akyaa Prempeh, delivered the keynote address on behalf of the Attorney-General and the Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong. She urged musicians to close their ranks and work together to  strengthen GHAMRO.