The Copyright Office has envisioned to be a center of excellence for the administration of Copyright and Related Rights in Ghana.
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For almost a century, Copyright protection in Ghana had developed steadily from a schedule in a Ministry to two fully fledged independent offices. The history of Copyright protection started in 1911 with the U.K. Copyright Act of 1911 which was one of the statutes that was of general application to the British Colonies.
Issues of copyright had been the responsibility of the Ministry responsible for information. In other words, Copyright and Related matters were handled as a schedule within the Ministry. Ministerial responsibility for Copyright Matters changed to the National Commission on Culture when the National Commission on Culture Law 1990, PNDC Law 238 placed the Copyright Office under the National Commission on Culture. In 2005, ministerial responsibility for copyright and related matters shifted to the Ministry of Justice.
The threshold in the administration of copyright in Ghana started with the passage of the Copyright Law P.N.D.C. Law 110 in 1985. P.N.D.C. Law 110 made provision for the creation of two offices namely – A Public Office to be funded from state coffers to be staffed by a Copyright Administrator and a supporting staff. The Law mandated the Copyright Office to implement the Copyright Law.
The Copyright Law additionally made provision for the setting up of a Collective Administration Society to take responsibility for the collective administration of Copyright and Related Rights on behalf of the beneficiaries. These two institutions came to be known collectively as the Copyright Administration of Ghana.
The late Bradford Odoi – Anim was appointed as the first Copyright Administrator after the passage of P.N.D.C. Law 110. His charge was principally to take responsibility for the administration of the newly created Copyright Office. The Government of the day made available a four room office on the compound of the Ministry of Information as the genesis of the Copyright Office and the Copyright Society of Ghana. Late Odoi – Anim met his untimely death in an accident in 1986. Mr. J. A. Larkai, his immediate Assistant succeeded late Odoi – Anim as the acting Copyright Administrator.
In January 1991, Mrs. Betty Mould – Iddrisu was appointed the second Copyright Administrator to succeed the later Odoi – Anim. She obtained the permission of the Ministry of Information to move the Copyright Office into a more spacious premises, that is, the Head Office of the erstwhile Ghana Publishing Corporation. The move into the new offices was due to the increase in the staff strength. During this period, a permanent office building was under construction for the Copyright Office.
In October, 1996, the ground floor of the permanent office for the Copyright Office had been completed and was ready for occupation. Mrs. Betty Mould – Iddrisu, then the Copyright Administrator moved the office back to its present location. In October 1997, Mrs. Betty Mould – Iddrisu was recalled to the Ministry of Justice and made the Director of the International Division of the Attorney General’s Department.
Mr. B. K. Bosumprah, her Deputy, was appointed Acting Copyright Administrator in her place. He moved the rest of the staff of the Copyright Administration to occupy the first floor of the Office when it was completed in the year 2000. Mr. Bosumprah was later promoted to Copyright Administrator until the year 2010 when he was recalled to the Ministry of Justice for re-assignment.
Currently Ms Yaa Attafua, a Principal State Attorney is acting in the position of the Copyright Administrator, steering all affairs of copyright and related rights in Ghana and beyond.
The construction of the permanent Copyright Office started alongside the construction of a separate building to house the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA). It was not until the year 2008 that the ground floor of the COSGA building was completed. In May 2008, the former Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, commissioned the new office for the Copyright Society of Ghana
(COSGA). The COSGA staff subsequently moved into COSGA’s own offices.
Though the Copyright Office still shares the same compound with COSGA, the two offices operate from separate premises.
Thus far is the journey for the protection and administration of Copyright and Related Rights in Ghana.