The Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) has won the copyright infringement case it filed against three of Ghana’s telecommunication giants MTN, Vodafone and AirtelTigo.

This comes after GHAMRO, in 2016, brought an action for a declaration that the failure of the Telecom networks to obtain user licenses for the performance of musical works to the public as well as facilitating music downloads via their various networks constituted copyright infringement.

In furtherance of this, the Society requested an order to the companies to account for revenues generated from the use/performance of its musical works to the public since 2012 as well as to be compelled to obtain user licenses for the use and performance of the musical works to the public.

GHAMRO requested for damages for breach of copyright and for the payment of 10% copyright royalties on revenue generated from music downloads and uses/performance since 2012. 

The ruling on the case, which has been in court for nearly four years, was delivered on March 10, by an Accra High Court, which granted GHAMRO the reliefs sought including a collection of royalties from the Telcos for public performances.

The court presided over by Justice Jennifer Abena Dadzie. ordered the Telcos to account for revenue generated from the public performances.

The companies were again asked to pay of 10% copyright royalties on revenues generated from the use of works belonging to GHAMRO members and obtain licenses for the use and performance as such.

“The court also declared that where performing artistes have already assigned their rights in public performance to GHAMRO, the artistes themselves are not the proper persons to receive the royalties and no agreement will preclude the GHAMRO from commencing an action to recover the royalties due it.”

“In that respect, the court awarded a cost of ¢60,000 against each of the Telecom companies to GHAMRO,” a press release signed by GHAMRO’s Corporate Services Manager, Don Tsegah, read.

Meanwhile, GHAMRO stated that, through its solicitors, it will collaborate with the Telcos to enter into account in appreciation of the rulings and partnership services to the Industry.

“GHAMRO is grateful for the support it enjoyed during the period. This landmark case has situated GHAMRO to affect the licensing of use of music in public performances by the TELCOS companies and by extension other users of musical works of its assigned repertoire.”

The organisation added that “users like hotels, restaurant, transport operators, content providers, night clubs, banks filling stations, malls and all other users are by this release requested to take note.”