We live in a country where copyright has become an issue. One may wonder if the copyright laws work in Ghana. Without putting proper measures in place, an artist cannot fully enjoy the fruit of his/her labour.
One important aspect of copyright issue that our musicians are ignorant about is sampling. In music, sampling refers to the act of capturing or taking a section of a personï¿½s sound recording and incorporating it into a new recording. A person can either sample a recorded voice or a programmed beat.
There are certain legalities surrounding sampling elements of another personï¿½s song. These issues, however, I think Ghanaian musicians know next to nothing about them. Songs are being sampled everyday for free without any permission or authorisation from the owners of the work.
Not long after P Square released their hit track, Alingo, one of Ghanaï¿½s finest Dancehall artistes, Samini, sampled the ï¿½Alingoï¿½ beat, which he even used to throw punches at the owners of the beat (P Square). Appietus, a renowned sound engineer in the country, was bashed by a section of Ghanaians when he sampled DJ Cyndoï¿½s ï¿½Ameridoï¿½ beat for 5Fiveï¿½s ï¿½Muje Bayaï¿½ track.
Before an artiste can sample an already existing recording, permission ought to be granted by the songwriter, the musician who owns the song, or the musicianï¿½s record label. Even after granting the permission, the artiste who intend using the sampled work has to pay a license fee to the owner of the song. The license fee depends on the how much of the music is been sampled, the popularity of the song intended to be sampled, and the intended use of the sample in oneï¿½s song. Without these, the outcome is tantamount to stealing a personï¿½s intellectual property or infringing on copyright laws.
Inappropriate sampling of songs are very prevalent among our musicians. Lack of education on such issues could be a holding factor. Artistes do not know the legal implications of sampling other peopleï¿½s songs without permission and license fee.
On the other hand, those whose works are being sampled for free do not know jack about the issue of sampling. Hence, they cannot press charges against fellow musicians and other corporate bodies or advertisers who use elements of their songs for free.
Sometimes, such ones are rather happy that their songs have become popular and other people are using them. These are the same people who complain bitterly when they do not receive royalties from Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO). License fees for sampled music can actually be an avnue through which musicians and their record labels can make money. Just as the Bible puts it; ï¿½My people perish because of lack of knowledge.ï¿½ I live to see a day when our musicians learn more about sampling and make some money from it.
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