14.09.2004 General News

Parliament asked to remove Contac louse clauses

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Accra, Sept. 14, GNA- Mr. Carlos Sakyi, spokesperson for the Coalition of Concerned Copyright Advocates (COCCA) on Tuesday appealed to parliament to remove unfriendly clauses in the Copyright Bill which is to replace the Copyright Law PNDC 110. He said the Bill was full of anomalies, some of which were blatantly unconstitutional, contentious and controversial and therefore the need for some of the clauses to be removed.

Speaking at the launch of a 19-age document entitled, "Copyright Bill Is Inadequate", Mr. Sakyi said the Bill, when passed without the removal of those clauses, would be one of the bad laws like the Preventive Detection Act and the criminal libel law which would infringe on the fundamental human rights of musicians and other artists. Mr Sakyi said instances of these were clauses, which would send to jail for two years, any musician, filmmaker, writer and designer who use his or her birthright folklore commercially to create works without paying a levy. He said it was appropriate that all bad provisions in the Bill be changed to ensure the enactment of a Copyright Law that would pass the test of time and conform to principles of natural justice, equity and good conscience. He noted that the provisions in the Bill, which required copyright owners to pay a levy and buy security devices before using their birthright (folklore) was illegal and that it would only justify pirating and criminalize ingenuity as well as stunt informal interpersonal, oral and informal cultural creativity which would cause the youth to be inundated by the western culture.

Mr. Sakyi also alleged that the Copyright Administrator in whom the Bill invests excessive totalitarian functions and power, which take over the rights of the copyright owners, and also usurps the functions of the police and judiciary, lacks neutrality. " The Copyright Office and its Administrator have their favourites and therefore, decides whom to certify as rightful owners of a copy to the disadvantage of the unfortunate ones", he said. He said Copyright was a property thus it was just logic for the individual owners or their representatives to protect their properties and not any other outsider. "We should be allowed to take control of our destiny not any other person", he said.

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