Reliable information gathered by Flex newspaper has it that the Copyright office of Ghana (COPYGHANA) is on the verge of collapse.
Every country the world over has well-structured and drafted copyright laws that protect the creative works, technically known as IPs (Intellectual Properties) of its citizens or nationals. Ghana for that matter has copyright laws and regulations.
The Six Hundred and Ninetieth (690) ACT of the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana entitled: THE COPYRIGHT ACT 2005, is an Act that replaced the Copyright Law, 1985 (P.N.D.C.L 110); and brings the provisions on copyright and the Copyright Office in conformity with the Constitution and to provide for related purposes. The date of assent was on 19th May, 2005, enacted by the President and Parliament.
For years now, rarely do we hear anything from the copyright office of Ghana. Flex newspaper therefore took upon itself to poke around the office of the copyright office to find out what their silence holds. Unfortunately, reliable information we gathered has it that the outfit, if not succoured, will collapse very soon. Since January 2013 till date(July 2013), government has not given financial allocation to run the office.
Payment of utility bills is the office's biggest challenge. Staff strength is low due to poor remuneration and conditions of service. Staff are not well motivated – intrinsically and extrinsically. The general working environment of the office is very off putting. Some of the workers even contemplate of resigning.
As an arts writer who has been writing for years now, never have I attended any workshop or seminar organized by the copyright office of Ghana to educate entertainment journalists on Ghana's copyright laws. If you are a showbiz person, how many workshops on copyright have you attended in the last five years?
Or do you know much about Ghana's copyright laws? Meanwhile, the copyright office is mandated by the 1992 Constitution to discharge many functions such as: organize seminars, conferences, workshops, and fora to educate copyright owners and users; fight against piracy; investigate and redress cases of copyright infringement and settle disputes where those disputes have not been reserved for settlement by the Law Court – through the Copyright Tribunal, amongst other equally important functions, but due to the lack of funds, all such important functions have been pre-terminated.
We at Flex plea with the government of Ghana, corporate bodies and foreign or local donors to come to the aid of the copyright office of Ghana to give it the adequate resources it requires to perform its mandated core functions for Ghana's creative arts industry. Fellow media comrades, please let's start the advocacy now. It's for our own interest.
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