D-Black & Kwaku T Drag Vodafone Ghana To Court Over Copyright Infringement!

Vodafone Ghana

It is extremely difficult to sue a company in Ghana and come out as a victor. No musician is known to have gone to court to sue a major company for copyright infringement. However, a bold step has been taken by D-Black and Kwaku T to sue Vodafone Ghana for illegal use of their song.

Whenever one buys a Compact Disc, some words which serve as a warning to copyright abusers are printed on the CD inlay and on the CD itself. If you ask me, those words are not printed there just for the fun of it; they are there to send a clear signal to people who are there to infringe on the copyright owners.

Words printed on the CD and inlay: “All rights of the producer and the owner of the recorded work reserved for unauthorized copying, public performing, broadcasting, hiring or rental of this recording is prohibited”.

As the words printed visibly on the CD, phone numbers, email contacts or website of the artistes or the record label is also printed just beside the warnings. So when a big telecom company like Vodafone refuses to do the right thing by contacting the copyright owners before using their product in their commercial advert; they are asking for one thing, to get sued for copyright infringement.

Hip Hop artistes D-Black [Desmond Blackmore] and his former rap ‘paddi’ Kwaku T have dragged Vodafone Ghana to court for using their song ‘Move’ in their advertising commercial.

In a suit filed at the Commercial Court B, Accra, D-Black and Kwaku T have brought a claim against Vodafone Ghana for illegal use of their song in a Vodafone advert. The said advert was given a brand name as ‘Crystal Clear Sound’. It was released on January 2010 and put online on January 11, 2010.

Vodafone Ghana, one of the biggest and richest telecommunication companies in the world used the rappers track ‘Move’ from their album ‘Target Practice’, which they released as partners in 2009.

Vodafone Ghana did not contact the two rappers but they argues that, when they [Vodafone Ghana] wanted to use the music, they searched and couldn’t find the where about of the two rappers who are based in Ghana. The theory is ‘If you can’t find the owners of the song, don’t use their song then’.

The two are suing the company for damages and want to set precedents for the right thing to be done when an organization wants to use the intellectual property of artists in Ghana.

According to Vodafone Ghana, after countless efforts to get in touch with the two, they went ahead to pay GHC 1.400 to COSGA office and began airing the ad without a signed agreement from the owners of the song. COSGA is a body mandated by the government of Ghana to collect and distribute royalties on behalf of right owners registered with them.

But the artistes in question are not registered members of COSGA, which means Vodafone Ghana erred in paying the money to the association with an unspecified percentage going to the body.

The two believe, Vodafone Ghana cannot build their brand and grow their business on the backs or at the expense and hard work of their song or any other Ghanaian musician for that matter. The said advert was ran on all television stations in Ghana airing the African Cup of Nations last year and aired during half time and end time periods of the soccer matches without the song owners’ knowledge or permission.

Finally a year later a court date was set and at court yesterday, May 9, 2010 the presiding judge adjourned the case to July 22 to enable Vodafone Ghana bring their evidence to court. The lawsuit was filled in the Commercial Court in Accra by Beyuo Jumu & Co on behalf of the Ghanaian musicians with their lawyer being Daniel Dweteh-Agyare of Beyuo Jumu & Co.

This lawsuit will certainly set a precedent for future legal action involving companies using artistes’ intellectual property without their consent. Musicians and Artists in Ghana need to come together to stand up for their rights and the government should ensure the smooth and effective running of organizations responsible for the collections and disbursement of funds/ remunerations meant for our Ghanaian musicians.

You can’t just take a Ghanaian song without permission from its owners, make millions out of a campaign its used for especially during The African Cup of Nations and think it’s okay. GhanaCelebrities.Com will bring to readers the full proceedings and outcome of the case when court decides on it come July 22.

The “Target Practice” album which contains the song ‘Move’ was the first Hip Hop album ever marketed from Ghana internationally. The video of the track made some rotation on TV screens in Europe and on MTV Base around the African continent. It also gained massive airplay in countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia and Liberia.

Artistes featured on the album include; 2Face Idibia (Nigeria), J-town, Reggie Rockstone, Asem, Jayso, Wanlov (Kubolor), Tinny, Sarkodie, M.anifest, Eddie Blay, Black Prophet, P-square (Nigeria).

Target Practice

Target Practice

Both D-Black and Kwaku T were appointed United Nations Celebrity Ambassadors in December 2009 to champion the case of Environmental Degradation. A track on their album ‘Breathe’ won couple of awards including ‘Best Storyline’ and ‘Best Collaboration’ at the 4Syte Music Video Awards.

It was nominated for Hiphop/Hiplife Song Of The Year and also won the Best Music Video of the Year Award at the Ghana Music Awards 2010 and snagged Best African Video of the Year and HipHop Music Video Of the Year nominations at the 2010 Channel O Music Video Awards in South Africa and African Music Awards in the U.K last year.

D-Black recently won the Hiphop Song of the Year award at the prestigious 2011 MTN Ghana Music Awards for his ‘Get On Da Dancefloor’ hit single and is currently on his first nationwide tour ‘The Yes Boss Tour’ with artists such as Sarkodie, Dr. Cryme, Dee Moneey, Stay Jay, Efya, Yaa Pono, Ayigbe Edem and more with Kwaku T acting in the new TV series ‘Desperation’ whilst recording his debut solo album. The “Target Practice” album was distributed by Black Avenue Works.

Watch the Crystal Clear Sound Advert from Vodafone Ghana

Watch Move Music Video:

By Ebenezer Anangfio Jnr./GhanaCelebrities.Com/Ghana

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Commenting Guidelines & Rules

osei says:

Good move by the musicians .

robert s. says:

Fuck vodafone!

dylia says:

Cheap ass network!

clifford says:

im amazed at this vodafone company. why tarnish your image like this.you have come from U.K to Ghana to rip Ghanaian musicians off? big talk for nothing

vision in progress says:

payyy ooo payy!!!!! vodafone pay!!

Babygirl says:

Ghana is rapidly developing not only in our entertainments industry but all sectors of business.
It is only right that we respect peoples occupations. This case should mark a milestone in the music industry, an prove to artist in Ghana that their work is recognized and respected.

henry gborglah says:

they couldn’t find the artistes?……whoever said that as an excuse should resign,are they serious? professionals being paid to do your job give lame excuses like this? vodafone should quickly try and settle this out of court before it gets more embarrasing


VODAFONE is crazy,the little money dem go give to these two wonderfully gifted gentlemen they dont..am really apalled by their cheap polytricks and thier wicked intentions to dupe ghanaians…Is such a big disgrace to ghana for selling ghana telecom………GOD DON PUNISH YOU:



kwasi a. says:

Im confused at how confused some of these telco’s can get.tsk tsk. get d heck out of Ghana!! 

bee says:

who at vodafone gave such a lame excuse for using these artist work…really good they are suing them….atleast next tyme they wld use the proper channel

miranda says:

This shoud not even be a court case. Vodafone should have done the right thing and they didnt so they have to pay the consequences. If the musicians ay pay 1000 billion trillion you’ll have to pay.hahahahah!l

Adowa says:

These big companies think Ghanains are dump and they can cheat us n go free. Vodafone u will pay them the money they deserve. your network is not even good and u collect huge sums of money from customers for that poor service u render. mo to atwi hahahahahahahahahhahhaha

abena turkson says:

You are soo on point Chris Vincent! vodafone can go to hell with their crap service too

Is there any ‘contentious’ issue here at all? I cannot see or think of any legal argument Vodafone Ghana can successfully pull up in this case. It looks as if they accept there is a copyright violation (if they do not even accept it, we all know there is) but they have a legal excuse…

The excuse being that they could not find the owner of the work and as such used the material unlawfully… Wow…So if I see a car parked somewhere and I shout out-who is the owner and no one comes, I can jump into it and drive away huh? I know this sounds like a silly analogy but that is how silly Vodafone Ghana has behaved…

If they were negligent to have paid the wrong person some money for the music used, who cares? 

If I was on the legal team of D Black and Kwaku T, I would have pulled up the argument that, my clients would have not even allowed the materials to be used by them, so even if they have contacted them, they would have said no…Meaning, they are not interested just in the fact that the money went to the wrong person because Vodafone Ghana did not take enough step to find them, but the fact that their work has been used unlawfully…PERIOD..

Has work been used unlawfully, YES…CASE FINISH, big ass compensation must then be paid…

Screw the argument that they could not find the owners of the material…If you cant find an owner of a car you want to buy, you go and buy the next one, not give the money to some kids playing around and then jump into the car thinking you have purchased the car….

These companies come to Ghana to do whatever they want, things they cannot do in their parent countries, they do it to us…How could you not find these hustlers in Ghana? The kid selling chewing gum at Kaneshie first light can even point you to where to find D Black or Kwaku T…

sok says:

What’s with Ghanaian commercials and ADR??? Don’t they have any good mics for production sound? If you MUST use ADR, at least spend some time in syncing and making it match. It sounds so FAKE! 

conriba says:

It is soo sad that our ghanaian musicians r being exploited by these telco’s. wasn D-black a guest on vodafone icons a few weeks ago too.and then u go behind his back and use his song without telling him. vodafone should be punished

sok says:

what’s with ghanaian commercials and ADR??? never any good production sound on set -- so they get back to the studio and ADR everything -- makes their commercials look so fake! if you HAVE to do ADR, at least spend some time in making it sync right!

pilot says:

Well..like mantse of the last two said..these companies do this with the excuse that they are providing exposure to the artist. As in a barter system. I personally think respect for copyright in Ghana has a bit of a long way to go..Education should be intensified so we meet at a mutually benefiting grounds. Because telco’s need artist and artiste too need them.

ethel says:

Vodafone do the right thing. if it were england will u do this? People pay to buy units to make their calls.u dont want to pay for using musician music

shirley frimpong says:

I do not know why these rich companies want to cheat our ghanaian stars.woth all the money thEy are making too

shirley frimpong says:

I do not know why these rich our ghanaian stars.woth all the money thEy are making too

vida grant says:

Vodafone r the most stupid network in Ghana. Users! God punish those responsible

Miyagi says:

you can say that again 

bebe says:

why has no one said anything huh?this is my first time of saying anything and i just wanna say if it was some stupid story aba nadia ,jackie,becca,mimi etc.,thousands of u would have jumped on it.

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