The Chairman of the Interim Directors of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO), Rex Omar, has intimated that they are still mandated to collect music royalties in spite of the non-renewal of their licence.
He said this during a press conference by GHAMRO at the GNAT Hall in Accra on Thursday, June 1, 2023.
“The licence gives us the mandate to operate as a collective management organisation which deals with other foreign music CMOs. We will still collect [the royalties] by law until we get our licence. That is why we say we can’t distribute. Because collecting is one thing, distributing is another,” he added.
He made this statement after announcing that GHAMRO’s operating licence has been withheld by the Attorney General through the Copyright office.
"GHAMRO will not be able to distribute any collection as it is unable to follow the collection mandate until the licence is renewed,” he said in his address.
Rex also explained that GHAMRO had fulfilled all the renewal conditions under Section 24 of the Copyright Legislative Instrument.
“In 2010, GHAMRO submitted all the requisite documentation for the renewal of its license in June, 2022. This is against a campaign from notable persons like Madam Akosua Adjepong that the organization certificate has not been renewed and that Users should stop payments for the use of protected music which is regulated under law,” he stated.
That notwithstanding, the Copyright office through a letter dated 17th May, 2023 has requested that the organization agree to suspend its cases in court, re-adopt Prof. Sutherland’s Report and to readmit the dissolved Election Committee to organize new elections.
Rex Omar added that “it is unfortunate that after the Attorney General’s Office Roadmap has almost been completed with the exception of the apped case yet to be cleared, GHAMRO is being asked to go back to start the recommendation of the Efua Sutherland Committee.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the press conference with Joy Entertainment, Rex assured GHAMRO members that the leadership has written a petition to the Attorney General to register their displeasure at the directive.
“As we got the letter from the copyright office, we have also answered their requirements one by one. We believe that their requirement does not hold water and we believe that what the law requires of us to do to continue to operate as a CMO has been done. It is the same thing we did that our licence was renewed previously. The law has not been changed so we don’t understand why.
"If you look at the conditions they are setting for us before we get our licence renewed, they are based on somebody’s discretion not the law,” he noted.
The veteran highlife musician demonstrated that the non-renewal of their licence is destroying the organisation.
He has, therefore, called on the Attorney General to renew GHAMRO’s licence so they can carry on with their activities.