Rex Omar is former Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) chair
Former Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) chair, Rex Omar has expressed his displeasure over the disregard given to the intellectual property of creatives.
What saddens him the most is the fact that the country’s culture has made it so and worries him more to see artistes whose intellectual property he fights to protect, using another’s work without their permission.
“In Ghana, we joke with these things. The laws are there to protect one’s intellectual property but generally, the Ghanaian society doesn’t respect intellectual property, even the artistes themselves. It is a cultural thing and it is wrong,” he said.
According to Rex Omar, “your right is your right and if someone uses your property without consulting you, you have to bring the person to book and charge them”.
He noted that one can not just get up and sample or use another’s work without the originator’s permission. But advised creatives to thoroughly research on the work they want to use, contact the originator or persons related to him or her for their permission first.
“When you want to sample someone’s work, you need to approach the publisher of the work or the clearinghouse in some jurisdictions.
When it comes to the moral rights of the song, sometimes the person who did the song doesn’t want anything to do with you and that is why it is important for you to get clearance before sampling an artistic work”, he told Doctar Cann on Happy98.9FM’s Showbiz Xtra show in discussion to mark the World Intellectual Property Day.
On his authority, if the interested party cannot access the originator of a body of work, “you don’t have to forcefully use it. If you can’t find the owner of the property, use someone else’s.”
He believes Ghanaians refuse to put in the effort to identify the owner of a piece of work. “People in developed countries understand this and don’t joke with it.”
The seasoned musician who is big on copyright infringement shared that most companies in Ghana use the work of artistes without their permission, “and when you take them on, enlightened Ghanaians will tell you to drop the issue and not make a big deal out of it which is sad.”
Advising the young artistes, he reiterated, “If you have an intellectual property, it is your right and you need to demand it if anyone uses it without your permission.”