Some bloggers bought some tracks off Shatta Wale’s Reign Album, and uploaded on their blogs for free downloads by interested ones who want to consume the songs — and I’m reading a worrying concern expressed by some Arts writers and Critics over the conduct.
That, those blogs/bloggers should not have done so. I understand and appreciate the essence of the concern — protection of creative works, and the fact that creative minds must make gains from their works.
However, the concern of a perceived wrongful act by the bloggers, have no solace from the bosom of Ghana’s Copyright Act and Regulations.
In brief, the position of the law is that (not quoting), if one uses any creator’s work(s), herein known as IP (intellectual property), for commercial gains, the former is obliged to pay royalties to the latter.
Since the bloggers bought those songs, not for private comsumption, but, for commercial gains, it is the work of the music right collection body, GHAMRO, to collect royalties and pay to Shatta.
So the UPLOAD FOR FREE DOWNLOAD, does not constitute a COPYRIGHT OFFENCE – the failure to pay royalties, is.
The artist, has therefore not been shortchanged by these bloggers. The bloggers have also not breached any provisions of the copyright laws or infringed upon the artist’s IP.
The way forward is for GHAMRO to capture all those blogs/sites, bill them, collect royalties from them, and pay to Shatta — same to all music right owners.
GHAMRO should also bill and collect royalties from bloggers who do not have COVERAGE RIGHTS, yet stream ticket-sold events on their platforms.
An absurd fact we all know is that, it’s the very musicians and their team, who give their songs to the bloggers to upload for free downloads.
By Osarfo Anthony