Go beyond citing names of composers for copyright-Expert admonishes musicians

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    Lawyer Dorothy Habadah, Senior State Attorney at the copyright office of Ghana, has said that the mere mention of a musician’s name in a song, does not amount to satisfying the copyright requirement for picking his or her songlines.

    In an interview with Dennislaw News, she indicated that proper and formal communication has to be made to the appropriate office in charge of music rights to use someone’s song.

    She further noted that the relationship between musicians can also easily facilitate the use of another’s songlines. However, the mere mention of a name does not in any way amount to satisfying copyright.

    Background

    On Thursday, June 3, 2021, on the show, ‘Entertainment review’ aired on Peace FM hosted by Kwasi Aboagye, the above-stated issue was discussed by panelists on the program.

    One of the panelists, Mr. Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo, referencing an article he had written, said,

    “I remember that one time, I wrote an article and I said, listen, if you mention the person’s name or you tell me you are doing that to honor him, it is nothing. The most important thing is going through the right process, ensuring that the one whose song you are sampling is sorted out”

    Observance of copyright in music has for some time become an issue in Ghana. Day in and out, we hear of,  and attest to the fact that most existing and upcoming musicians blindly copy styles, rhythms, and words of old songs either from old artists in Ghana or elsewhere.

    Most musicians have recently released songs, which the Ghanaian public perceives to have copyright issues. This is because to most entertainment pundits and the public, these musicians have directly lifted lines from other artists, without necessarily going through the necessary copyright procedures.

    Meanwhile Section 9 subsections 3,4, 5 of the Copyright Act 205(Act 690) state:

    (3) Copyright may be transferred by assignment, testamentary disposition, or operation of law.

    (4) An assignment of copyright shall be in writing and signed by the owner of the copyright or by the person authorized by the owner of the copyright for the purpose.

    (5) A licence to do an act that falls within copyright may be oral, written or inferred from conduct.