22.07.2006 Tabloid News

MUSIGA Expresses Concern Over Attempts To Soil It Image

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The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), on Friday expressed its concern over attempts by some individuals, purported to be stakeholders in the music industry to soil its hard won reputation.

It said the sad aspect was that such individuals were granted audience by some media houses without crosschecking the facts before putting the information in the public domain.

In a statement signed by Jude Lomotey, General Secretary, the Union explained that MUSIGA, the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA and the Office of the Copyright Administrator were distinct statutory bodies with different mandates and at no point in time had each attempted to perform the functions of the other as those publications seemed to portray.

It said the MUSIGA was a union of musicians and like all other unions had the sole interest to promote and protect the well-being of its members.

This interest MUSIGA had over the years pursued both in the country and on the international scene and had earned it its present reputation not only in Ghana but also worldwide, culminating in its President Alhaji Sidiku Buari being elected Vice President of the International Federation of Musicians.

Besides, MUSIGA had been able to create an enabling environment for all musicians to go about their activities and musicians in Ghana today were accorded the respect, which until recently had eluded them.

On an alleged World Bank loan granted to a certain West African Musicians Association, the statement said, MUSIGA had at no time received such facility, let alone disburse the grant to its members.

It said there were no records at the MUSIGA Secretariat to that effect and challenged any interested persons to cross check with the World Bank Country Director or his office.

The statement explained that MUSIGA had no mandate to collect and distribute money and it was at the moment surviving on its limited resources as most members found it difficult to pay their annual dues to run the secretariat.

"It is therefore not true that MUSIGA has created a platform for any individual or personnel to have a field day in plundering its resources to the disadvantage of any of its members.

On the other hand the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) is a society of authors of copyright works and as a body corporate was established by a regulation called Copyright Society of Ghana Regulation L.I. 1527 of 1992".

COSGA's mandate among others are to represent and protect the professional economic, moral and other interests of authors, while serving as a collecting society for the collective administration of the copyrights of members.

The statement said as pertains to the copyright industry worldwide, copyrights and related rights could not be exercised on individual basis since the works concerned were used by a great number of users at different places and at different times.

"This is because individuals in general do not have the capacity to monitor all such users to negotiate with them and collect remunerations. The framework of a collective management/administration system is therefore used".

The statement said the owners of the rights authorised collective management organisations to monitor the use of their works, negotiate with prospective users, give them licenses against appropriate remuneration on the basis of a tariff system and under appropriate conditions, collect some remuneration and distribute it among the owners of the rights.

It said MUSIGA, unlike COSGA did not therefore administer rights but only served on the management board of COSGA to ensure that the interest of its members who constituted the majority of COSGA members were all catered for.

On the Copyright Office, the statement said it was established by an Act of Parliament to implement and enforce copyright laws in Ghana.

"Its activities are governed by the Copyright Act 690 of 2005 and individuals who want to comment on the functions of the Office of the Copyright Administrator should be conversant with the Act since MUSIGA does not run the day to day activities of the Copyright Office".

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