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02.10.2004 Crime & Punishment

States fight copyrights crime

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Accra, Oct.1, GNA - The Board of the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) on Thursday said the objections raised by the Coalition of Copyright Advocates (COCCA) on some sections of the Copyright bill were not tenable.

Mamah Gado Mohammed, President of Film Producers Association, said this at a stakeholder's press conference to react to allegations of mismanagement and mal-administration levelled against COSGA and to throw more light on the Bill. He said COCCA's position that individual rights owners be allowed to monitor activities leading to the arrest and prosecution of copyright offenders was against all reality and simply not feasible.

"Nowhere in the world is the fight against crime including copyright crimes is not the function of the State." It said although both international treaties and local laws grant exclusive rights to the author, to among other things to control the reproduction and distribution of their works including rental rights, it was also a fact that the activities of pirates undermine the exercise of these rights substantially.

Mamah Mohammed said: "In every country with a commitment to copyright, there are specialized public enforcement agencies to implement and enforce Intellectual Property Laws," he said. The monitoring and enforcement of the laws of a country was the function of statutory bodies and could not be left in the hands of individuals and voluntary bodies.

On copyright protection of original creativity, he said users who intended to commercialise works, which have fallen into public domain or belong to folklore in its raw state fell under a category of use referred to as 'paying public domain'. He said the objectives of this section of the Bill was to demand a small payment from users not (composers) who wanted to commercialise works in the public domain and folklore in its raw state. This token fee, he said, would be paid into a fund, which would be used to develop the arts. "COCCA's stand that Government must not interfere in their private business is a clear misconception on their part as of how the system works and what can be stated as a matter of fact is that copyright is one of the most regulated sectors of every economy."