The Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) has cut ties with the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) after talks between the two groups on royalty payment ended in a deadlock.
GHAMRO reached the decision on Thursday after the collection rights organisation accused GIBA of deliberately showing bad faith after an agreement had been reached on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding how members of GIBA should pay music royalties.
It said after three months of negotiations, GIBA called for a formal MoU, but after the terms were amicably reached, GIBA refused to attend the signing ceremony and did not give any reason for the refusal or even bothered to propose a new date.
Ahmed Banda, Vice President of the GHAMRO, explained the drama, saying, “The laws of Ghana mandate GHAMRO to collect royalties from radio and television networks that use music for public and commercial purposes. Many of them have defaulted in paying so we took a number of them to court and we won and they paid hugely for it. Many more are still in court when GIBA approached GHAMRO and requested for an out of court negotiation on behalf of the radio and television stations who are members of GIBA.
“GHAMRO showed GIBA the due respect and we started talks and negotiations for close to three months until GIBA itself came to us with a MoU which would solve the challenge of radio and television stations which fail to pay the due music royalties. We went through the terms of the MoU and both parties agreed it would be mutually beneficial. We agreed on a date to sign and GIBA came to us with a full team made up of its leaders and lawyers. Just when we were about o sign, GIBA suggested the date should be postponed to Thursday November 17 so we invite the media and make it a subject of news. We agreed to the suggestion.”
He continued…“Here we are today, Thursday, November 17 the invited media houses are here, GHAMRO is here with its leadership and team of lawyers but GIBA is nowhere to be found, we have waited for several hours they have not showed up, they are not picking their calls, and they have just ignored us completely in a very disrespectful way.”
After the invited media houses had waited for hours, lawyer for GHAMRO, Dr Poku Adusei, addressed the journalists and said he had also tried without success to get an explanation for the absence of GIBA at the event.
“I have called the GIBA president and what he told me on phone was that he was outside Accra. This is bad faith and disrespectful when GIBA knows we have an agreement to sign and they themselves scheduled the date, invited the media, gave the time and everything but failed to turn up without the courtesy of even calling to explain their absence or sending a message.
“We have no choice than t return to court with radio and television stations who have defaulted in the payment of music royalty and this time the courts would even make them pay more because they would pay the legal cost, cost of defaulting because it is an infringement and also pay the arrears all because GIBA does not want the easy way out,” Lawyer Poku Adusei stated.
One of the vice chairs of GHAMRO, Nana Tuffour, had travelled all the way from the Ashanti Region to join the chairman, Kojo Antwi, and the other vice chair for the event.
The Copyright Administrator, Nana Yaa Attuafuah, and a team from her office were also at the event, but they all left in disappointment after several hours of waiting.