GHAMRO Threatens To Deal With Music Pirates

The Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) has declared that it would continue to wage an intensive war against music pirates in the country.

GHAMRO stated that anti-piracy raids which began early this year would continue unabated throughout the country till the pirates, whom it described as ‘thieves and industry destroyers’, were brought to book.

According to GHAMRO, piracy undermined the legitimate market, impoverished music owners and deprived government of tax revenue, adding that proceeds from the sale of pirated musical works were used to fund organized criminal activity including armed robbery, money laundering and drug trafficking.

GHAMRO vowed to deal drastically with all violators of Ghana’s Copyright laws, and would continue the anti-piracy operation until all intellectual property thieves whose activities were impoverishing copyright owners were flushed out of the system and brought to justice.

A few weeks ago, 12 traders who were duplicating for sale various Ghanaian songs without the approval of the owners were arrested from their various hideouts at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra by a GHAMRO taskforce, with support from the police.

Some of the items seized included 12 laptops, system units, two amplifiers, among others.

The accused persons, who appeared before an Accra Court, pleaded not guilty to a charge of piracy preferred against them.

They have been granted bail in the sum of GH¢1,000 each with one surety by the Adjabeng Magistrate Court chaired by Her Lordship Elen Anokye.

Last week, the court issued a bench warrant for the arrest of four suspects who failed to appear in court, to appear before it on June 7 for trial.

The suspects
The facts of the case as presented by the prosecutor, Inspector Iddrisu Fuseini, were that on March 13 this year, at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area in the Greater Accra region, a task force of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) managed to arrest the accused persons who were spotted pirating the products of some members of MUSIGA through the use of computers and laptops.

According to the prosecutor, MUSIGA, in an attempt to minimize the illegal practice of some traders who have been pirating the works of some of its members, set up a task force to arrest and prosecute all those involved in piracy.

He told the court that at about 11:30am on March 13 2012, the task force, in the course of its duties, managed to arrest the accused persons and handed them over to the police, where, after investigations by the police, they were all charged with the offence.

Commenting on the anti-piracy operation, dubbed ‘Operation Jail The Pirates’, Carlos Sakyi, Chairman of GHAMRO, stated that anti-piracy raids would continue unabated throughout the country.

He noted that GHAMRO was very serious in bringing the activities of pirates to an end, adding that his outfit was also determined to transform the music industry in Ghana.

Carlos Sakyi disclosed that piracy had killed the creative industry in Ghana, adding that a large number of music icons were now unemployed due to the increasing rate of piracy in the country’s music industry.

He estimated that the country’s music industry lost over GH¢ 5 million yearly to pirates who illegally pirated various works of Ghanaian musicians.

He disclosed that measures were being put in place by GHAMRO to prevent various forms of copyright which included illegal download of songs, mobile ring tones, CD piracy, among others.

Carlos Sakyi stated, ‘We will not relent in our efforts to dismantle the nefarious operations of these nation wreckers who build their wealth on copyright theft.’

By George Clifford Owusu



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