CULTURAL NEWSCULTURAL NEWS
Saturday, May 26, 2007
At The UNESCO or PAWA Copyright Workshop
Professor George Hagan, Chairman of the National Commission on Culture with Mrs. Beatrice Okai (past president of ASOHOM), Mr. Charles Amuah and Mr. Bill Marshall at the Wole Soyinka Courtyard of PAWA House.
PARTICIPANTS at a two-day UNESCO/PAWA workshop on copyright recently have called for a stake-holder’s forum on the issue of the indigenous use of folklore. They also wanted more consultations among the executive, the Legislature and other relevant stakeholders before laws on copyright were made.
The participants, drawn from among writers, publishers, musicians, lecturers, booksellers as well as practitioners of the film and television arts, also called on the law enforcement agencies to hold government institutions culpable when they infringe upon the law on copyright.
These were contained in a communiqué issued at a two-day workshop to mark this year’s celebration in Ghana of the World Book and Copyright Day 2007.
The workshop, which was under the theme, “Copyright, The Creator and National Development”, saw 50 participants in attendance.
In the communiqué which is yet to be sent to the appropriate governmental bodies and other institutions for the necessary consideration, the participants charged the Copyright Administrator to be more proactive in the enforcement of copyright laws as well as educate the masses on copyright laws.
Hon. Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Minister for Chieftaincy and Culture, opening the workshop, admonished the participants to make meaningful inputs and contributions to achieve a successful workshop because, “the freedom enjoyed today by authors and publishers of intellectual works through the Collective Administration of copyright and Neighbouring Rights has not come on silver platter”.
The Minister, in chronicling the evolution of copyright, said there were two legal approaches to copyright: Continental European Approach which have brought about differences in the shaping of national laws on copyright.
He, however, noted that what was important was that, “a copyright law must guarantee to writers, artists, composers and other creators of works of the mind, certain rights limited in time regarding the ownership of such rights for use of their creative works”.
The Secretary-General of the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA), Pro. Atukwei Okai, in welcoming the guest and the participants, paid glowing tribute to UNESCO for partnering PAWA to organize the workshop.
“This is therefore why the Pan African Writers’ Association commends UNESCO for partnering PAWA and our neighbouring stakeholding institutions to put in place this vital platform for the exchange and reflection on ideas concerning the welfare not only of the authors of works that gladden and sadden, but creation that shackle the sensibilities of man for the sake of an enlightenment process”, he noted.
Prof. Okai hoped that the workshop would afford the participants the necessary empowerment to participate in the socio-economic development of Ghana and also benefit from an “encouragement to continue with the exercise of their God-given gifts”.
The Country Director and Representative of UNESCO, Madam Elizabeth Moundo, in replying with a message from Mr. Koichidro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, observed that, as there could be no book development without copyright, the celebration of the World Book and Copyright Day had always been closely associated from its inception and throughout all these years, with an awareness of the importance of the moral and heritage protection afforded to works of the human spirit and their creators, hence the two-day workshop.
The speakers at the workshop who spoke on various topics in relation to the theme, included Mr. Setheli Ashong-Katai, Dr. Kwesi Owusu, Ms. Akosua Busia, Chief Dele Momodu, Mr. Kenneth Laryea, Mr. Kojo Laing, Mr. Carlos Sakyi, Mr. Andrew Ofoe Amegacher, Nana Bosomprah, Mr. Alex Agyei Agyiri and Mr. Poku Adusei.
The Spectator - Thursday, May 26, 2007 Page: 17