Parliament stops GHAMRO, ARSOG on new hotel royalties

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism has advised the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) and Audio-Visual Rights Society of Ghana (ARSOG) to halt the issuance of new royalties to hotels across the country, pending finality of a case before the copyright tribunal.

Hotels in the country are kicking against the formula used by GHAMRO and ARSOG for calculating the 2020 music royalties, saying it is unfair – especially when the copyright tribunal is yet to rule on the matter.

The hotels association has subsequently dragged GHAMRO and ARSOG to the copyright tribunal over the matter after a meeting of all parties and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism failed to resolve the issue. It is for this reason that the committee has advised the involved parties to stick with the 2017 royalty rates until the tribunal rules on this matter.

The 2017 formula, which is being used till date, due to the misunderstanding required budget hotels to pay royalties of GH¢50; one-star hotels pay about GH¢140; two-star hotels pay between GH¢120 and GH¢294; three-star hotels pay between GH¢500 and GH¢1,500; while four- and five-star hotels pay a flat fee of GH¢3,818 and GH¢4,963 respectively.

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Commenting on the directive from parliament, President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr, told the B&FT he is content with the new development and hopes the copyright tribunal will expedite work on the matter to bring early closure to it.

“We have always had this nagging problem with these two bodies … the matter has been going on for a long time. We contacted Parliament and the select committee gave all the parties a good hearing. It was there we determined that the Copyright administrator needs to rule on the matter. We are before the tribunal with our lawyers – and even before the case has come to an end, GHAMRO issued new fees to our members based on the formula we are challenging. We alerted the Parliamentary Select Committee [on Trade, Industry and Tourism] and they asked them to halt,” he said.

He however stated that the association will continue to work together with GHAMRO and ARSOG to ensure a vibrant tourism sector.

“We play music, and we must pay the appropriate royalties to the owners of those songs.  We are ready, but we can’t be paying upon a false calculation. That is our concern. We will go to all lengths to ensure there is an amicable settlement,” he said.

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Meanwhile, GHAMRO and ARSOG also say they are ready to battle the case and ensure there is mutual understanding to progress the tourism sector.

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