Federation of Creative Arts Professionals (FOCAP), a pressure group in the entertainment circles, has charged government to fulfil its promise of setting up a special court to settle copyright issues.
In a statement signed by its conveners, Messrs Kojo Preko Dankwah, Mel Kwesi Davis and Enock Agyepong, FOCAP intimates that the arts industry urgently needs these courts to help address the numerous copyright problems bedeviling the creative arts industry.
Read the full statement below:
“FOCAP wishes to take this opportunity to say a Happy New Year to all Creative Industry Players and contributors. It is our fervent hope that the industry will grow from strength to strength to make the Creative Arts Industry a better one for all and sundry.
FOCAP recognises the challenges ahead and it’s our believe that as we move on, players and domains in the industry will act practically and walk the talk to make sure Sanity , Accountability, Probity, Honesty, Integrity prevail within the industry.
FOCAP as an advocacy and pressure group in the creative industry will also need to remind government of its major promises made during the election period which is again stipulated in their manifesto; “THE CREATION OF A DIVISION OF HIGH COURT WHICH WILL DEAL WITH ALL MATTERS RELATING TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS” and complete with a dedicated enforcement unit. FOCAP wishes to admonish The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to update the creative Arts industry what has really been done to this promise.
FOCAP believes the lack of a fully functional court of jurisdiction for the Creative Arts is a major problem facing the industry. A court is urgently needed to curb the stealing, misuse of people’s intellectual property and the impudence of abuse by corporate entities. FOCAP believes as it was clearly stated in the manifesto and promised on campaign platforms, the Ministry should double up in the establishment of the high court. It is FOCAP’s hope that attention will be given to this just as the government has found it necessary to establish courts across the regions to prosecute defaulters of TV licence.
FOCAP wishes to see a very active and upbeat attitude to the implementation of the Cultural Policy of 2004, the Film ACT, 935, The Setting Up of the Copyright Court and giving budget support the National Commission on Culture to implement all Cultural and Creative Arts programs.
FOCAP still looks forward to receiving a comprehensive copy of the programs and projects from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.”
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its 2016 manifesto outlined their objectives for the creative arts and tourism sectors.
Principal among them was the setting up of the copyright court. They promised among other things to:
1.aggressively develop our tourist sites to bring them to world-class standards, complete with the requisite amenities and facilities.
2. pursue a deliberate marketing programme to promote our unique historical sites, flora and fauna, waterfalls and other cultural artefacts.
3. take the staffing of these tourist sites and our hospitality industry as a whole seriously. To improve professionalism in the sector, we will partner with the private sector to set up a state-of-the-art hospitality teaching facility, with an operational hotel, classrooms, kitchens, library, and dormitories.
4. encourage local communities to take ownership and be invested in the sustainability of tourist attractions in their localities, The NPP will champion a revenue- sharing programme to inject 5% of tourism revenues from fees of well-developed tourist attractions into local community projects.
5. promote domestic tourism, by making it an aggressive plank of our tourism strategy with a marketing drive centred on entrenching a tourism culture among Ghanaians.
6. review and actively implement the Culture Policy developed under the Kufuor-led NPP government to give our culture pride of place in our national development.
7. build a detailed inventory of all our cultural assets, so the nation has a database of these assets.
8. the Copyright Act 2005 (Act 690), among other provisions, provides for the protection of Adinkra symbols and the older Kente designs as expression of folklore. The NPP will ensure that the provisions regarding the protection of Kente and Adinkra designs are strictly enforced against illicit exploitation by foreign interests, to enable the country maximize revenue through the proper marketing of these heirlooms.
9. establish a Creative Arts Fund to make available funds to modernize and develop the sector.
10. create a Division of the High Court, focusing on the Creative Arts to deal with all matters relating to intellectual property rights, complete with a dedicated enforcement unit.
11. establish a Creative Arts Council to coordinate and harmonize the various interests and fragmented associations into a well-functioning body to protect the interests of members.
12. collaborate with private sector interests to acquire the technology and equipment needed to log creative works, in order to determine true and deserved royalties.
13. promote regional and district literature, music, dance and drama competitions, particularly in schools and colleges, and
14. pursue the construction of modern large seating theatres in every regional capital except Accra, beginning with Takoradi, Tamale and Kumasi, as well as setting up an additional Copyright Office in Tamale to cater for the northern sector in addition to the existing ones in Accra and Kumasi.
2017 Budget statement on arts and tourism
Meanwhile, the 2017 Financial Statement read in Parliament by the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Attah, indicates that the government will commence feasibility studies to set up a Creative Arts Fund to support the creative arts industry.
“Government will continue its initiatives to improve the Creative Arts sector with the establishment of a fully functional Creative Arts Secretariat and the commencement of feasibility studies to set up a Creative Arts Fund,” he said.
He also added that a gastronomic festival will be organised to showcase Ghanaian foods and recipes through cooking competitions throughout the country as part of efforts to promote the local Ghanaian cuisine.
The call by FOCAP therefore, is meant to prod powers that be to tackle the other promises in the NPP manifesto in spite of its budget items for the year.