Legal notes to copyright registration in Ghana

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Copyright registration in Ghana. Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. Ghana is an average natural resource enriched country possessing industrial minerals, hydrocarbons, and precious metals. It is an emerging designated digital economy with mixed economy hybridization and an emerging market. It has an economic plan target known as the “Ghana Vision 2020”. This plan envisions Ghana as the first African country to become a developed country between 2020 and 2029 and a newly industrialized country between 2030 and 2039. Accordingly, many businesses want to enter this market and one of the most important preparations a business needs to take before expanding to this country is to learn the procedure of copyright registration in Ghana.

Copyright in Ghana

Unlike other intellectual property rights such as trademarks, patents, industrial designs, plant varieties, etc., copyright does not need to be registered for protection but will be automatically protected from the time the works are created.

The creation must be visible in a certain material form, like content, quality, form, medium, language, published or unpublished, registered or unregistered.

Accordingly, whether registered or not, the copyright to the work will still be protected. However, the creator should still apply for copyright registration early because early registration will give the author/owner of the work many advantages in the event of a dispute.

When unauthorized use of work occurs around the world, the owner of a work who has registered copyright in advance will not have to waste time and complicate matters with proving himself/herself to be the legitimate owner of the work.

Thereby, in order to avoid passivity, the owner of the work should make a copyright registration to protect their rights and interests when there is an infringement.

Copyright registration in Ghana

Ghana is a member country of The Berne Convention for Copyright since 1991.

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the Berne Convention) is an international agreement governing copyright. The agreement was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.

As Ghana is a contracting party of the Berne Convention, any work originating in Ghana will be given copyright protection in each of the Berne Convention member countries.

In most countries, copyright protection is automatic as soon as the work existed in material form. However, the copyright registration in Ghana is critical in order for the copyright owner to obtain evidence of copyright.

Evidence of copyright is extremely important even when the works are automatically protected according to copyright law.

When registering, the work will get an application submission date, as well as information about the creation and proof of creative concept and development. This provides unambiguous proof of authorship and ownership that can’t be denied.

Proof of copyright is essential in an age when the publishing, dissemination, and theft of material is extremely easy with the exposure of the Internet.

If copyright registration is not made, copyright owners will lose a big amount of money as well as time attempting to fight copyright issues and prove ownership of the original work.

If the copyright owner has already registered for copyright protection to the IP office, they would have a strong legal foundation which would increase their chance of winning against the violating parties.

Documents for copyright registration in Ghana

To obtain copyright registration in Ghana, the author of the work needs to prepare the following documents:

  • Declaration of copyright registration in Ghana;
  • Two copies of copyrighted work;
  • Documents proving the right to apply;
  • Written consent of co-authors, if the work has co-authors;
  • Written consent of the co-owners, if the copyright is jointly owned;
  • Notarized identity card of the author or owner of the work;
  • Power of Attorney, if the applicant is an authorized person;
  • Notarized copy of the company’s business registration certificate (if the owner is a company).

The copyright law of Ghana

Ghana’s current copyright law is Act 690 issued by the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana. It was enacted on 17 May 2005 and replaced Parliament’s Act No. 110, the country’s previous Copyright law from 1985. The Copyright law affords protection to a variety of works, grants Copyright holders rights to their work, and defines the duration of that Copyright protection.

The Copyright Act of Ghana is divide into the following parts:

  1. Copyright
  2. Duration
  3. Permitted uses of Copyright
  4. Copies of Sound Recordings, Mechanical Reproduction Rights of Composers
  5. Enforcement Provisions
  6. Protection of Performers and Broadcasting Organisations
  7. General Provisions
  8. Administration, the Copyright Office and Miscellaneous Matters

You can see a list of Ghana IP firms here.

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