Reports reaching ‘Beatwaves’ indicate that the Ghanaian music industry loses over GH¢5million a year to pirates who illegally copyright the works of artistes and sell it cheaper on the global market.
Beatwaves gathered that out of a 100 songs played on radio, 80 are pirated without the consent of the artistes who spent thousands of cedis on production.
It is also on record that a market size of about 50 million or so copies of cassettes and CDs sold annually has reduced to less than 30 million copies due to the illegal use of musical works.
Music piracy is the copying and distribution of copies of a piece of music of which the composer, recording artiste, or copyright-holding record company did not give consent. It is also a form of copyright infringement, which is a crime in many countries.
Two decades ago, the Ghanaian music industry did not experience the activities of pirates. But today, the whole country has been plagued by piracy, making it difficult for artistes to sell their genuine musical products.
A copyright advocate, 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 the stakeholders in the industry to prevent various forms of copyright which included illegal download of music, mobile ring tones, CD piracy, among others.
Reports available also indicated that since 2009, illegal the activities of pirates in Accra and Kumasi had increased by more than 25 percent.
The report further revealed that over 65 percent of creative works on the Ghanaian market were suffering as a result of activities of pirates.
In Ghana today, music pirates have completely taken over the music industry through the establishment of a mafia clique in some secret location in some parts of the country, operating freely.
The pirates have survived and are still surviving because they have good links with some of the players in the industry, who have given them some form of protection to operate freely.
John Mensah Sarpong, the president of the National Society of Ghana Music Producers (NASGAMP), who spoke to BEATWAVES, disclosed that his association was working tirelessly to protect and promote the image of Ghanaian music to attract more investment into the music sector.
“Considering the long list of victims of piracy, most of the artistes have decided to be watchdogs over their productions, spending huge sums of money on their monitoring teams to check the activities of pirates,” he declared.
According to him, in Ghana, the environment was very conducive for piracy as a large number of music lovers were willing to buy the pirated works not because they were cheaper but due to the fact that the majority of them had poor purchasing power.
He was of the view that the problem of piracy started gaining grounds in Ghana a decade ago and it capitalized on the vacuum created by the continued absence of the pre-requisite structures and an efficient network to smoke out the mafia that had become almost invisible, operating underground