Mr. Carlos Sakyi, National Chairman of Ghana Musicians Rights Organisation
The National Chairman of Ghana Musicians Rights Organisation (GHAMRO,) Mr. Carlos Sakyi, has lamented the increasing rate of piracy in the industry saying it is collapsing Ghana’s music industry.
“My brother I must tell you today that the perennial piracy problem caused by middlemen in the country has primarily caused untimely death of some of our seasoned musicians as well as rendered aged musicians very poor because their musical products are not being patronised.”
In an inclusive interview with Today, a worried Carlos Sakyi stressed the urgent need for a new copyright law to take into consideration the revolution in information technology saying that 90 per cent of software sold in the country is pirated products.
He disclosed that the piracy menace had reduced the average one million copies of CD sales in a year for music producers of his calibre to just 50,000 in recent times. Still, he fears the worse.
Mr. Sakyi complained bitterly that there is high level of piracy in the software industry, adding that those who buy pirated products suffer in the long run.
“One of the greatest challenges we face in our industry is piracy, and it goes as high as 90 per cent of sales,” he disclosed.
Mr. Sakyi stated that software distribution has moved from the traditional media such as the Compact Disc to new channels arguing that a new copyright law needs to take this trend into consideration.
He pointed out that 90 per cent of the activities of brand owners in Ghana would move online in the nearest future, and that calls for new copyright law to protect them.
He proposed collaboration between his outfit, the security agencies and media to help curb the piracy menace, and called on media to educate the public on the piracy menace as a way of supplementing the work of security agents fighting it.
He lamented the influx into Ghana of foreign pirated music that is sold cheap on the market thereby, killing the Ghana music industry.
“Where do these foreign pirated music CDs pass before getting into the market?” he quizzed.
Mr. Sakyi said copyright gives the musician and producers control and power over their music, but until piracy is curbed that is impossible.
He appealed to the musicians, music producers, film producers, actors and actresses to come together to jaw-jaw on effective ways to enforce the Copyright Law in Ghana.
“It is in tour own interest,” he affirmed.
He challenged the National Society of Ghana Music Producers (NASGAMP,) to collaborate with the National Communication Authority, to establish a mechanism for tracking down those that download music and films from the internet.
He observed that the creation of too many splinter groups in the music industry works against the promotion of music and other creative arts, and admonished the key players to unite to speak with a common, effective voice.