- WHAT IS COPYRIGHT?
Copyright is an exclusive right granted to authors or creators of “original works” which works include literary, musical, artistic, cinematograph and sound recording both published and unpublished. Copyright does not protect ideas. It only protects the specific and original expression of the idea. If therefore you have created any work whether musical, audio visual, artistic etc then my good friend you have rights under the law which is the Copyright Act 690 of 2005.
- WHEN DOES COPYRIGHT BEGIN?
Copyright protection is automatic. The act of creating and fixing the work also creates the copyright. There is no requirement to register for copyright. For example, copyright in musical work and / or sound recording begins automatically once a piece of music is created and recorded (e.g. on video, tape or CD or by simply writing down the notation of a score). The registration is only a formal means of ensuring that there is a register known to people other than yourself and help identifies you with the work in circumstances of doubt or litigation.
- HOW LONG DOES COPYRIGHT LAST?
Under the Ghanaian Copyright Act, protection in musical works extends during your entire lifetime (the creator, in this instance the composer, arranger, author and Producer Publisher) and seventy years after his/her death. It is your right to ensure that you benefit from whilst you are alive and ensure that the necessary documentation of this right is known to others to warrant benefit after death.
- WHAT DOES COPYRIGHT AFFORD THE OWNER?
Copyright is an exclusive right and gives it’s a creator or owner of a work a” bundle of rights”, which includes, the exclusive right to reproduce, translate, communicate, perform, broadcast or communicate the work to the public by any means as in juke boxes or other similar device, to issue sell or rent copies to the public, etc.
- WHAT IS GHAMRO
GHAMRO means Ghana Music Rights Organization which is a non profit company limited by guarantee established under Ghanaian laws to collect and distribute royalties to music right owners whose works are used by other. This is the only approved Collective Management Organization (CMO) for musical works sound recording in Ghana under to the Ghanaian n Copyright Act (Act 690 of 2005) and the Copyright Regulations of 2010. By this Act, GHAMRO is authorized to license the public and commercial use of musical works and sound recordings. It is therefore a basic requirement under section 20 of the LI 1962 that any person or body of persons who wishes to use any music work to apply for a license to do so.
- WHY DO I NEED A GHAMRO LICENCE?
For any property be it land, car, a person other than the owners is required to be permitted before using or making use. Music in same regard is considered intellectual Property under the law and also requires the permission or express authorization of the owner before once and use in any public place, commercial purposes. Song writer’s composers, performers, publishers and owners of sound recording are entitled to expressly permit the use of their works (music) when they are performed or used in a public or within any commercial setting. It is however difficult to imagine the number of license any user may require from a number of music and also how this can be monitored by the owners. GHAMRO simplifies this process for users like Radio, TV, Bar, Hotel, Restaurants, spinners, Banks etc and facilities that use music in public or for commercial purpose to simply take a license as a one stop for any use it requires reducing the cost and time needed.
- HOW ARE LICENCE FEES DETERMINED?
The cost of music copyright licence depends on various factors: the nature and extent to which music is used, and how many people are exposed to it. The value of music to the trade or business, the monetary advantage obtained from the use of the music, the type of premises, the size of the premises, the type of trade of trade or business, etc. it is worthy of note that GHAMRO tariffs are regulated by the by its tariffs which are published by the Society.
- WHAT ABOUT IF I USE FOREIGN MUSIC, DO I NEED A GHAMRO LICENCE?
Yes, you need a GHAMRO music copyright license before you can use any music whether local or foreign. Under the principle of National Treatment for works protected by copyright as enshrined in Berne Convention, which Ghana is signatory to, GHAMRO is also a member of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC)- an international organization for performing rights. GHAMRO is equally a member of Bureau international des Societes Gerant les Droitsd’ Enregistrementet de Reproduction Mecanique (BIEM) – an international organization for mechanical rights. It is therefore important to understand that foreign works are protected and held in trust for foreign rightwoners just as they also reciprocate our license in their countries.
- WHERE DO THE LICENCE FEES GO?
GHAMRO is a member-based, not-for-profit organization made up of music creators- songwriters, composers, publishers, performers and owners of sound recordings. All licence fees collected (less the administration costs) are distributed as royalties to the right owners and GHAMRO affiliates around the world. No one own shares in GHAMRO. GHAMRO does not declare profit.
- WE CONTRACTED AN ARTISTE PERFORMER FOR AN EVENT AND PAID HIS FEES DIRECTLY, DO WE HAVE TO PAY GHAMRO?
This is known as Artiste appearance fees which is different from music copyright licence fees. When a performer is paid to perform at an event, such payment is only an appearance fee for his service as a performing artiste at the said event, but not for the public performance of the musical work, which may have been created by himself or another person and published by an entity different from the performing artiste. You will require a performing right licence from GHAMRO for the performance of the works.
Performing rights are the right to perform music in public. Performances are considered “public” when it takes place in any public place where the audience is outside of the normal domestic circle of family and friends. This includes concerts, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, carnivals, festivals, etc. Public performance also includes broadcast on cable television, radio, and any other transmitted performance of a live song. Permission to publicly perform a song must be obtained from GHAMRO.
- WHAT ABOUT THE AUDIO CD (OR DOWNLOAD) WHICH I PAID. DO I NEED A GHAMRO LICENCE?
The purchase of an original CD or download of music from a legal and licensed site. Gives you ownership of a copy of the work. You may play the CD or music in your home for your enjoyment and that of your family and friends. You may lend the copy to your friend but not for a fee. The moment you begin to play the music in a place open to the public or in a commercial environment, you are going beyond the right of the owner of a copy and enjoying the right of a copyright owner. You are now breaking the law and may have bought for yourself and place of trade or business a law suit. In order to avoid such a situation, you need a GHAMRO licence, which allows the public use/performance of music.
- I RENT OUT MY VENUE TO EVENT ORGANIZERS.WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING THE GHAMRO LICENCE FEE?
Both the owner of the venue and the event organizer maybe liable. As an owner or operator of an event center using any form of music whether live or recorded, you are responsible for obtaining the appropriate music copyright licence from GHAMRO, and paying the corresponding fees. If music is used in your venue simply contact GHAMRO. The event organizer needs to make sure that the venue is fully licensed or he/she maybe liable for copyright infringement. The event organizers are therefore advised to contact GHAMRO before the use of music.
- I ALREADY PAID FOR A COMMERCIAL BOUQUET FOR CABLE RECEPTION IN MY PLACE OF BUSINESS. DO I STILL NEED A GHAMRO LICENCE TO RECEIVE DSTV MUSIC PROGRAMMING IN ROOMS OR OTHER FACILITIES WITHIN THE ESTABLISHMENT?
Yes, you need a GHAMRO licence. The payment of subscription to receive a DSTV signal or any other cable signals is not the same as a music copyright licence, to communicate music and sound recordings in public or commercial environment. Anytime music is performed, communicated, played, used or broadcast in a public or subscription only gives you the right to receive signals and not the right to publicly or commercially use music.
- EMPLOYEES BRING IN THEIR OWNH EQUIPMENT. DO I NEED A GHAMRO LICENCE FOR THE EQUIPMENT TO BE USED TO PLAY MUSIC WITHIN MY ESTABLISHMENT?
The ownership of equipment does not affect the requirement for music copyright license. If music is performed in public or in a commercial environment, a music copyright license is required. The owner of such premises of business may be legally liable for any unlicensed public performance of copyright music that takes place on that premises irrespective of who owns the equipment.
- DO ALL PERFORMANCES IN THYE WORKPLACE NEED TO BE LICENCED- ‘WHAT ABOUT PERSONAL STEREOS AND MP3 PLAYERS?
We advise all businesses using music in the workplace in anyway to contact GHAMRO to discuss their requirement for an appropriate music copyright licence.
- I AM AN ONLINE MUSIC SERVICE PROVIDER; DO I NEED TO OBTAIN A GHAMRO MUSIC COPYRUGHT LICENCE?
Yes, you need a GHAMRO licence. AT GHAMRO, we provide licensing solutions to online music service providers, which they may require for their online music service businesses whether it is music downloading (Mechanical Right licence) or music use of music on the online/digital environment. You may also be required to get the advised to get in touch with our licensing department for appropriate licence so that you do not fall of the law.
- WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY MECHANICAL RIGHT LICENCE AND PERFORMING RIGHT LICENCE?
The term “mechanical royalties” initially referred to royalties paid whenever a sound was reproduced by mechanical device (One of the copyright owners’ exclusive rights is the right to authorize the reproduction of songs in music boxes, player pianos rolls, and later, phonograph records. This term is still used, and “mechanical royalties” now refers to royalties paid for the reproduction of songs on CD, DAT, audiocassette, flexi-discs, and other devices. A mechanical right licence is also required for many digital uses – permanent downloads, limited downloads on-demand streams, ringtones, ringbacks, and more.