…Victims sue over theft of intellectual property
Millionaire owner of Taabea Television (formerly Trust TV), Christian Akwasi Agyeman, has entangled himself with the law, following alleged theft of intellectual property and using it to rake in millions for himself.
Megafame Media Productions, a Ghanaian entertainment company, has dragged Mr. Agyeman and his network to court for purloining an edutainment song belonging to Megafame and using it to promote a program on Taabea TV.
Court papers that The Republic has sighted show that, in addition to using the song, “Youth In Agriculture,” to sell a program called “Telefarm” to sponsors, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman and his TV station had also passed the song off as their own intellectual property.
The same Taabea TV had also published the song, along with “Telefarm,” widely, on many platforms, including a monetized YouTube channel where it had generated traffic and raked in money for them.
Allegedly, over several months that Taabea TV had used the song to harvest cash, it had not bothered to even acknowledge the owners of the intellectual rights covering the song. What’s more, when Megafame Media later confronted Taabea TV, the station and its boss thumped their noses to them.
Lately, Mr. Christian Akwasi Agyeman and his employee General Manager at Taabea TV, Daniel Yeboah, have taken to every dirty trick in the book, including evading journalistic enquiry into the matter, to escape retribution.
Consequently, owners of the intellectual property have sued the man and his station at an Accra High Court for Justice. Megafame Media Production, is among other things, demanding a $200,000 penalty over the thievish usage of their song, “Youth in Agriculture,” by Taabea TV.
“Youth in Agriculture” is an edutainment piece which Megafame Media, which specializes in using music to promote national causes, recorded in 2011 to whip up the interest of Ghanaian youth in Agriculture. The effort towards promotion of Agriculture comes after a successful promotion of blood donation by the same Megafame in a similar fashion, for which Mega Fame won an award.
In undertaking the project, the Chief Executive Officer of Megafame, Ralph Asante, had hired the services of a Ghanaian reggae artist based in Germany and a producer from the UK, where Mr. Asante had been domiciled for some time.
Megafame had also contracted a technical crew that included Italians and Germans, along with actors who had been recruited to shoot the video for the project. According to information available, some of the scenes in the video had been shot in Tanzania.
In total, the whole project had cost some $50,000 to complete and Megafame had had plans to promote the concept at the United Nations.
However, while Mr. Asante was in Europe working on contacts to get the project promoted to the UN, Taabea TV, formerly Trust TV, suddenly started using the song on its channel for a program called “Telefarm,” for which it is said to have sought and secured sponsorship.
In addition to airing it on its channel, Taabea TV had also published “Telefarm,” along with “Youth in Agriculture” as promotional soundtrack on social media. It is said that “Telefarm” and the soundtrack had run for several months on Taabea TV.
The flagrant copyright abuse constrained Mr. Ralph Asante to travel down to Ghana to confront Taabea TV over the offence. People familiar with the issue say that initially, Mr. Ralph Asante was arrogantly rebuffed by Taabea TV and its owner who had continued to use the song.
Following from this, Megafame Media lodged a complaint with the Copyright Office in Accra, which summoned a response from Taabea TV. In its response, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, owner of the station, had refused to appear, but sent a lower level staff who traveled down from their Kumasi base to the Copyright Office’ in Accra.
At the meeting, legal ownership of the intellectual rights to the song was proven to the Taabea TV representative, after which, Megafame Media demanded a reimbursement of the $50,000 that it had spent on the project by way of payment for copyright penalty.
The Taabea TV representative had then pleaded that he was just a lower level staff and would therefore need to report back to his boss, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman.
Weeks after that, the General Manager of Taabea TV, Daniel Yeboah, wrote a letter to Megafame Media, acknowledging the abuse of Megafame’s copyright to the “Youth in Agriculture” song and pleading for forgiveness. Beyond this, Taabea did nothing further, not even writing back to the copyright office to give the response promised by its representative at the earlier meeting with Megafame.
In May 2017, a month after the meeting at the Copyright Office in Accra over the issue, Ms Dorothy Habadah, Senior State Attorney at the Copyright office, wrote to Megafame and asked them to commence legal action against Taabea TV after its owners had refused to revert to the copyright office.
Megafame Media, according to information also waited for sometime for Taabea TV to revert to them in vain. Rather, the company suddenly adopted an attitude of evasions while its owner, Mr. Akwasi Agyeman, had taken to snobbishness.
The dirty tricks that Taabea TV has since been deploying in respect of the matter were experienced first hand by The Republic when this paper attempted to get through to the station.
Immediately a call to its landline was picked and this paper announced its intent to get their side of the story, the person who was speaking at the end of the landline cut the call.
Later The Republic got a mobile number said to belong to Mr. Daniel Yeboah, the General Manager of Taabea TV, but immediately we made it known that we wish to get their side of the story to the issue, the person at the other end of the line claimed the number did not belong to Mr. Daniel Yeboah.
Another number was given to this paper to call but when it was dialed, someone else picked and said he was neither a staff of Taabea TV nor did he know the General Manager. Thenceforward, Taabea TV has not come through.
As it became clear that Taabea TV and its owner had decided to play tricks over the issue, Megafame decided to sue.
Among others, it is seeking $200,000 in damages from Taabea TV before an Accra High Court. The Republic understands that Taabea has since entered appearance.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels