Dozens of dealers in pirated video and audio materials last Friday took to their heels in a funny spectacle during a joint swoop by personnel of the Ghana Copyrights Association and Ghana Police Service at Denu and Aflao.
A total of 10 dealers, seven of them Nigerians and three Ghanaians were arrested and large quantities of pirated foreign and Ghanaian musical videos and film productions were impounded by the Task Force.
Also impounded were computer keyboard, systems units and a monitor allegedly said to be part of the equipment used in illegally copying the pirated items.
The system unit at Fabulous CD Music Shop at Denu onto which the materials were loaded for copying were however smuggled out before the Task Force arrived. Mr. Seth Tsikata Volta Regional Organizer of the Ghana Copy Rights Association said similar operations had already taken place in Hohoe and Ho.
He said Aflao with its proximity to Lome in Togo, had become a major entry and marketing point of pirated materials and the Association’s searchlight would be kept on the area to stem the illegal activity.
Mr Tsikata said the practice was denying musicians of their due and also limiting the Association’s responsibility in collecting royalties on behalf of musicians.
Togbe Edinam Ansah, Regional Coordinator and Chairman of the Volta Music and Entertainment Industry Board observed that pirating was killing the music and film industry in the country. He said investors in the music industry and the musicians themselves were losing heavily; as a result, investors were now reluctant in supporting the industry.
Togbe Ansah said in the Volta Region in particular, where there is absolutely no support for musicians, piracy worsens the plight of musicians who contract loans to produce on their own.
He said it appeared many users of people’s works, especially corporate bodies, such as radio stations and hotels, did not understand the concept of paying for creative works of others. Togbe Ansah said payments of royalties, made direct by these organizations in the Volta Region were not encouraging.
He expressed dismay at the way members of the community looked on for works to be pirated, particularly the recent Aflao operation during which some members of the community prevented the Task Force from arresting the pirates. Aflao Police sources said those arrested would be put before court soon.