Thursday, February 5, 2015

Steve Asare Hackman
The Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG) has warned transport agencies and commercial bus drivers to stop airing Ghanaian movies to passengers onboard their vehicles or be prepared to pay royalties for the films or face the wrath of the law.

Steve Asare Hackman, president of FIPAG, issued the warning and said the 2005 Copyright Law Act 690 mandates every individual who shows a Ghanaian movie for commercial purposes to pay some form of royalty to the owner of that film.

“Once a film producer registers his film at ARSOG, based upon the number of works that you have registered, the board would allocate a percentage of the royalties they collect annually to that producer. The law defines the first user as the one showing the movies for free and the second user as the one collecting money before showing the movie. The buses fall under the second users because the drivers show the movies while passengers pay to be onboard that bus; therefore they are expected to pay royalties to the producers,” Mr Hackman told NEWS-ONE.

Mr Asare said FIPAG, together with the Audio Visual Right Society Of Ghana (ARSOG) board, has instructed all commercial bus drivers who show films in their buses to pay a fixed rate annually to ARSOG.

“As we speak currently, majority of them are willing to pay but those who are not willing to pay will be prosecuted by the law. For now, the Audio Visual Right Society Of Ghana (ARSOG) board has given a flat rate to the buses. Each bus is expected to pay GH¢20 for registration and GH¢25 for royalties. Therefore, in all, each bus is expected to pay GH¢45 for the first year and GH¢ 25 in the subsequent year,” he stated.

However, the FIPAG boss admitted that though the showing of Ghanaian films in buses was a way of promoting the film industry, his administration and ARSOG were interested in the collection and payment of monies due movie producers.

“Each bus driver that registers and pays the annual levy would be given a sticker which would help us differentiate them from those who have not paid.

Because it is a law, it is empowered by the state so the police would be informed and they would mount random checks. If you are caught, you would be sent to court and prosecuted accordingly,” he noted.

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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