Legal Drama

Ghana’s RnM Confirm Split, Deniece Williams No Longer Part of Group – Ghana Copyright Act + Who Owns Songs When Bands Split?


A couple of things AML Ghanaian artists before you read the excerpt below and ultimately the full story on First, Ghana’s Copyright Act has parallel protections just like we have seen in Nigeria, USA and the UK. Further, as a copyright owner, Ghanaian artists in Ghana have the following rights as explained by Ghana’s Copyright Office and consistent with my reading of Ghana’s Copyright Act. You essentially, as Ghanaian artists, have the following rights:

A copyright owner enjoys two (2) distinct categories of rights. These are: Economic Rights and Moral Rights.

The creators of copyright protected works and their successors have the sole right to use or authorize others to use their works on agreed terms. A creator of a work can prohibit or authorize any of the following:

  • The reproduction of the work in various forms such as printed publication photocopying or sound recording;
  • The public performance of the work as in staging a play in a theatre musical work;
  • The recording of the work in the form of compact disks, cassettes, or videotapes, etc.
  • The broadcasting of the work by radio, cable or satellite;
  • The translation of the work into other languages or its adaptation such as from a novel into a screenplay
  • The distribution of the work by way of first sales
  • The renting of the work as by video libraries renting video films
  • These rights are called economic rights and the creator enjoys them moment the work is created and they expire 70 years after the death of the creator.

Moral Rights these rights include the right of the creator to claim authorship of the work that is to say to be recognized and named as such and the right to oppose any changes to his work that could harm his or her reputation. . .” Ghana Copyright OfficeCopyright Act (2005)Act 690

Knowing you have these rights as enunciated by the Copyright Act above, your goal when you form bands is to focus on answering the following key questions for yourselves before you even decide to call yourselves a band.’

  1. Who exactly owns the songs we will create?
  2. Are we going to designate one person to write all of our songs or will it be a joint effort by all?
  3. How are we intending to split the profits? Do we split it equally or is it based on what each person contributes?
  4. What happens to the songs we create if one member of our group leaves? Does that member still own the songs or do we want that person to give up their copyright ownership in the songs?
  5. How are we dividing the percentages with respect to royalties and any other streams of income from merchandising etc.?
  6. How do we divide an income when one person leaves?
  7. Who owns the name during and after the band dissolves?
  8. Who owns the name if one person leaves?
  9. For original artwork we create to be used for our product offerings like our CDs and T-shirts, who owns the copyrights?
Many of these questions, I have covered and you can simply click the legal drama tab or type in the search box the questions that pertain to you. The point is to think through these issues and not wait last minute to figure things out because it usually gets nasty when we get to the breakup part. An entertainment attorney which you can find through the Ghana Bar Association in Ghana, should be able to help you sort out  a lot of these issues.

“After returning to the Vodafone Icons stage last Sunday without third group member, Deniece Williams, RnM have finally confirmed public speculation and media reports suggesting a split in the group. They group has stated that RnM will now continue as a group with Natasha and Stephanie.

“As a group we have decided to further explore new opportunities. Natasha and Stephanie will continue with RnM as a duo whilst Deniece will continue as a solo artist. As three ladies, we understand the importance of supporting each other and being able to make firm and bold decision. The experiences we have shared together as a trio will always bind us and these are memories we will cherish forever.”

They also remain grateful to Vodafone for giving them a platform to meet each other and kick-starting their music career. They recounted:
“Just about a year ago, our dreams came true when we won the Vodafone Icons divas edition music reality show. The journey since then has been nothing short of amazing and it will be impossible to choose one single moment we enjoyed the most.”

RnM listed receiving a standing ovation whilst performing at the Miss Ghana UK, sharing a stage with Trey Songz and DBanj and being mentored by Amber Rose as some of the moments that they will forever hold close to their hearts. . . ” has the full story.

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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