Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)

First Advisor

Jessica Litman

Second Advisor

Rebecca Eisenberg

Third Advisor

Kristina Daugirdas; Ekow Yankah


Copyright infringement is a widespread problem in developed and developing nations and particularly concerning in Ghana. Many talented creators in Ghana have a strong desire to produce original creative works and are enthusiastic about committing themselves to this pursuit. Additionally, many more aspire to pursue these endeavours into professional careers. However, upon releasing their works, they are unfortunately immediately faced with infringements in nearly all copyright industries. These violations have become so common that they have unfairly placed rightsholders’ original works in competition with the infringers. Within this context, many talented creators, mostly self-funded, lack the incentive to pursue their work and are abandoning their creative initiatives. As a result, it contributes to a shortage of domestically generated copyrighted content, which contradicts Ghana’s copyright objective of expanding knowledge accessibility, inadvertently leading to a preference for foreign cultural materials. This contradiction is attributable to the inaccessible and inefficient strategies of enforcement mechanisms to support infringement pursuits. The existing mechanisms are costly and slow, frustrating rights holders and exacerbating the cost implications. While copyright is fundamentally a private right, there is still reason to be concerned about the matter due to its significant impact on the public, particularly regarding access to the knowledge contained in copyrighted works. Thus, if access to knowledge is of public interest and a goal of copyright, the conditions that encourage and drive the creation of works worth accessing should also be a matter of public interest. To address this issue, in this dissertation, I first explore the nature of infringements and how the obstacles to enforcement manifest in Ghana. I then compare approaches taken to combat infringements in Kenya, Nigeria, and the United States, aiming to gain a multi-faceted perspective on feasible solutions. Based on this analysis, I offer proposals to help promote enforcement and create an effective and functional copyright system in Ghana. While an effective and functional copyright system may not completely resolve issues related to copyright infringement in Ghana, it can facilitate fair competition and help strike a balance between content protection and access to copyrighted works.