Churches Have to Pay Music Royalties Too! … Rex Omar

Renowned Ghanaian musician Rex Omar stated at the second edition of the annual National Music Summit on June 21st 2022 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra that, religious bodies such as the church, are not exempted from paying royalties on music they use during their ceremonies and other public events. He added that it was the duty of the Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) to ensure that all such monies derived from the usage of music or songs belonging to its members were collected.

Addressing an audience at the La Palm Beach Hotel on Tuesday, Rex Omar said that the ‘Church’ is a public place, hence, should not be left out of the music royalties’ paying bracket. “The Church is a public place, and the law states that music used in public places must be paid for. So, if a copyrighted song or music is used in the Church, they would have to pay”, he explained.

He added that collecting music royalties was a collaborative effort and called on fellow musicians, especially Gospel musicians, to support GHAMRO in doing this. “Sometimes, it is also the attitude of the Gospel musicians. For instance, they say they are doing the work of God (by singing). But, the Pastor who is preaching (in the Church) is also doing the work of God; except that he is being paid. So, sometimes, when GHAMRO goes to churches (to collect royalties) you would have the very musicians whom you are trying to protect ‘fighting’ you. And, this must stop because, a profession is a profession. So, leave us to do our work by protecting you”, he said.

Finally, the Highlife pioneer Rex Omar confirmed some progress in the collection of royalties. “Some of them have started paying anyway and others will have to follow suit”, he said.

Rex Omar was speaking in his capacity as the Board Chair of the Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) which is a royalties collection agency within Ghana, that represents the rights of music copyright holders. It was created under section 49 of the Copyright Law, Act 690 of 2005.The agency collects royalties for all rights owners in Ghana. Before 2005, that function had been operated by the Copyright Society of Ghana.

By Jerry Wonder

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