Over the years, GhanaWeb.Com, an online portal owned by a Dutch software engineer and businessman- Robert Bellaart (Founder and CEO) based in Amsterdam has become the source of news for many Ghanaians—both home and abroad.
GhanaWeb has dominated the online media landscape in Ghana by aggregating (taking the articles or contents of others) mostly without permission to publish on its website and earning revenue from this, with the actual content owners or creators receiving no compensation for their work, except to sometimes be mentioned at a tiny credit section below the “stolen work”.
Multimedia, operators of MyJoyOnline.Com, AdomOnline.Com and other media platforms based in Ghana have over the years had their works (articles and videos) copied and used by GhanaWeb.Com on its website without permission or any prior agreement. GhanaWeb has been monetizing these works, belonging to others, for revenue.
In the last few weeks, executives at Multimedia have heavily descended on GhanaWeb—have written to Rob Bellaart and other executives at Ghanaweb to stop “stealing” their works, and to delete every content they have lifted and used from them over the years.
Sources close to the matter have told GhanaCelebrities.Com that, GhanaWeb which predominantly operates on the back of the contents of other media houses is panicking—and has tried to convince Multimedia that GhanaWeb’s use of their content benefits both parties.
However, Multimedia has been resolute, that it is not in their best interest, both short and long term, to have GhanaWeb copying and using their content in a manner that’s not covered by the principles of fair use.
While a media platform can quote a few paragraphs of another on its platform in a related content to make a point or case, completely stealing an entire article word-to-word (sometimes called duplication of content) without permission is illegal—as it infringes the original content creator’s copyright.
Apparently, GhanaWeb’s executives are upset that Multimedia has asked them to do the right thing by creating their own contents—and to stop using their work in a manner that infringes their copyright and prohibited by sensible journalism.
The move to clamp down GhanaWeb’s content plagiarism by Multimedia is expected to be followed by other media corporations and independent content creators in Ghana. After all, it looks like this is a case of “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop.”
In the last few years, GhanaWeb has started creating some contents on its own, but it continues to heavily rely on the work of others daily—for its survival and revenue.