Ghana Warns Local TV Stations Not to Air ‘Pirated’ Films

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Virtually anyone with an Internet connection can access pirated movies and TV shows in a few keystrokes. In some cases, an Internet connection isn't even required. In Ghana, TV stations are reportedly showing pirated films to their viewers. This is so rampant that the Government's film authority has issued a warning.

family watching tvCopyright infringement is a global issue and Ghana is no exception. With broadband access on the rise, the country’s online piracy volume has grown by 100% over the past five years.

Even households that don’t have decent Internet may inadvertently contribute to the problem. As it turns out, local TV stations regularly broadcast films without permission from rightsholders.

This type of TV-sponsored ‘piracy’ is not new. In recent years, we have seen more examples, including in Iran, where local state TV didn’t even bother removing the pirate watermark before airing a film. More often than not, however, viewers can’t see whether the broadcaster has paid for a license or not.

Pirating TV Channels

These unauthorized broadcasts are a problem in Ghana too. There have been several reports of TV stations allegedly broadcasting films without the proper paperwork. This applies to content from international film companies as well, including Nigeria’s ‘Nollywood‘ productions.

Last year, Nigerian actress and filmmaker Ruth Kadiri sounded the alarm bell, urging Ghana to stop airing films without a proper license. If not, she warned of legal action.

“I love the country as a whole but I am very disappointed that a major TV station in Ghana would go on my platform, rip my contents apart, show it on TV like they have the license to do that.

“This is the first warning and it is going to be the last one, because the next time, you’re going to hear from my lawyers,” Kadiri added.

Film Authority Issues Warning

As far as we know, these legal threats weren’t effectuated. However, the issue was bought to the attention of the Ghanaian government which, through its National Film Authority (NFA), issued a stark warning yesterday.

The NFA issued a public notice to TV stations, informing them about a series of complaints received from global film distributors. These boil down to the simple fact that local broadcasters air movies without paying for them.

“Broadcasting/airing a movie or film without authorization from the creator/copyright owner constitutes a copyright infringement which attracts both civil and criminal liabilities,” NFA’s letter clarifies.

Ghanaian TV channel operators are instructed to check their broadcasting schedules to see if all films are properly licensed. If not, they have to stop airing these in public immediately.

Whether this warning will be effective has yet to be seen, but it’s clear that the authorities are keeping an eye on the matter. A copy of the public advisory notice, posted by NFA, is shown below.

ghana letter broadcaster

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