The Audio Visual Rights Society of Ghana (ARSOG) has filed close to 100 writs against some major hotels and transport operators in the country as a result of their failure to pay royalties due to ARSOG for onward payment to its members.
The legal counsel for ARSOG J. A Larkai of Prudential Law Officers in Accra says ARSOG decided to seek legal action against the hotels and transport operators after persistent efforts to get the defaulters to pay the royalties. The writs have been filed in courts in Kumasi and Koforidua.
He indicated that ARSOG had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ghana Hotels Association but the Association has not been able to get its members to make payments hence the decision to proceed to court.
According to Mr. Larkai, with regards to the shops, salons and small restaurants, ARSOG intends to engage them initially through their respective associations before proceeding to court if they prove recalcitrant. He added that some of the hotels were initially paying but stopped hence the move to court to seek redress.
He said ARSOG is calling on the courts to enforce the law by receiving the royalties due ARSOG from 2014 to 2016 adding that he subsequently expects the hotels and transport operators along with all other commercial users of movies to voluntarily pay for their 2017 licenses.
The legal counsellor for ARSOG noted that the body is amenable to out of court settlements and hopes to bring a close to the whole issue over the next two months.
The Chairman of ARSOG Richard Prempeh indicated that ARSOG is not adopting an antagonistic posture with regards to the commercial users of movies but rather seeking the welfare of its members who deserve the benefits of their work. Mr Prempeh is of the view that as the hotels, transport operators and other users benefit from the use of the movies, the owners of the rights of these movies also deserve their due.
ARSOG was established in 2011 to protect the rights of movie makers in Ghana and is governed by an eleven member board. The organization distributes royalties it collects from commercial users of movies to its members.