The Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) has won a case they filed against telecommunication companies MTN, Vodafone, and Airtel Tigo four years ago.
The judgment was delivered on March 10, 2021, at an Accra High Court of Justice (Commercial Division ’10’) by Her Justiceship Jennifer Abena Dadzie.
In its landmark ruling, the judge granted GHAMRO the reliefs sought which includes the collection of royalties for the public performance, accounting for revenue generated from the public performance, payment of 10% copyright royalties on revenues generated from the use of works belonging to Ghamro members, and obtaining blanket licenses for the use and performance as such.
The court also declared that where performing artistes have already assigned their rights in a public performance to GHAMRO, the artistes themselves are not the proper persons to receive the royalties and no agreement will preclude the GHAMRO from commencing an action to recover the royalties due it. In that respect, the court awarded a cost of sixty thousand Ghana Cedis (Ghc 60,000) against each of the Telecom companies to GHAMRO.
Meanwhile, GHAMRO through its solicitors will collaborate with the Telcom companies to enter into account in appreciation of the rulings and partnership services to the Industry., GHAMRO is grateful for the support it enjoyed during the period.
This landmark case has situated GHAMRO to affect the licensing of the use of music in public performances by the TELCOS companies and by extension other users of musical works of its assigned repertoire.
Thus, the right owners, users like Hotels, restaurants, transport operators, content providers, night clubs, banks filling stations, Malls, and all other users are by this release requested to take note.
As background to this suit, in 2016, through its solicitors, Poku Edusei & Associates, Ghamro brought an action for a declaration that the failure of the Telecom networks, MTN, VODAFONE, TIGO & AIRTEL to obtain user licenses for the performance of musical works to the public as well as facilitating music downloads via their various networks constituted copyright infringement.
In furtherance of this, the Society requested order to the companies to account for revenues generated from the use/performance of its musical works to the public since 2012 as well as to be compelled to obtain user licenses for the use and performance of the musical works to the public.
In conclusion, GHAMRO requested damages for breach of copyright and for the payment of 10% copyright royalties on revenue generated from music downloads and uses/performance since 2012.