Ghana has signed on to the protocol on voluntary registration of copyright and related rights by Member States of the African Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO).
The protocol is conducted at stimulating the advancement of science and valuable arts by insuring the sole right of authors and inventors to their respective works and discoveries.
Attorney General (AG), Godfred Yeboah Dame, who led Ghana’s delegation to Uganda where the protocol was signed, welcomed ARIPO’s decision to affirm the regional rule-making in the area of copyright and related rights on the continent.
Speaking at a Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of the draft protocol, in Kampala, Mr. Dame cited that the speed of transmission and republication of literary, artistic and musical works in this digital era presents new challenges to copyright protection and underscores the urgent need to collectively develop new mechanisms in response.
“The expression that our destinies as African countries are linked could not have been truer at any time other than now. The quest to protect copyright and related rights on the African continent is a clear manifestation of the reality that, as Africans, we swim in one boat. This reality has been given a shot in the arm by the adoption of the protocols for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), whose headquarters my country Ghana has the privilege of hosting,” he said.
The AG implied that Ghana’s established Copyright Act makes provision for voluntary registration of works under Section 39 thereof, adding that between 2017 and 2019, Ghana’s Copyright Office recorded an average of 800 registered works annually.
He said the Diplomatic Conference by Member States is an acknowledgement that there is value in creative works and, therefore, there is the need to protect same. Copyright is indeed a priceless vehicle to promote cultural independence and diversity.
“Certainly, the labours of the mind and productions of the brain are as equally entitled to the benefits of protection and income arising therefrom as the labours of the body are. Authors, composers and producers of works in Africa have a moral, legal and equitable right to the profits of their works and if others pillage and pirate them, the continent should have a sound framework for bringing them to justice. After all, even the Holy Bible prohibits one reaping where one has not sown,” Mr. Dame stated.
He further stated that the registration system is important because it stimulates creativity amongst its creators knowing that in the event of an infringement, they have an advantage of establishing a prima facie case of ownership with the evidence of a certificate to show.
He added that Ghana welcomes the ARIPO Regional Voluntary Registration System as a laudable step because voluntary registration has been a core part of Ghana’s Copyright system.
“It has been a substantial part of the activities carried out by our Copyright Office. I believe that this initiative will foster relationships between Member States in the Region, encourage better collaboration between Copyright Offices in Africa and create increased business opportunities for creators.
“I trust that deliberations will be successful and produce an outcome which will usher in a new chapter in the history of Copyright protection on the African continent through the due execution of the Protocol in the coming days,” Mr. Dame added.
He signed the Protocol on behalf of Ghana while heads of delegation from other African countries present also signed the Protocol on behalf of their countries.