8 February 2019

Liberia: LIPO DG Vows Protection for Creative Sectors

Participants pose for photo after opening LIPO seminar.

The Director General of the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO), Atty. P. Adelyn Cooper, has promised to protect every individual involved in the creative sector by minimizing the high rate of piracy in the country that continues to undermine the growth of film, music and fashion industries, among others.

She made the statement in Monrovia recently at the start of a two-day seminar on copyright and related rights for musicians, producers, marketers and writers. It was organized by the Copyright Department of LIPO under the theme, "Stop Piracy."

Atty. Cooper said it is saddening that artists, writers, or movie producers will spend most of their time creating their valuable works, only to see such works being circulated freely in the public before the creators themselves can release them to the public.

She said it is against such backdrop that LIPO thought it wise to come up with the workshop in order to work along with artists in eliminating piracy in the country.

"When I took office, I promised to protect every innovator involved into creative arts, and I stand by that today; under my leadership at LIPO, my team and I will try to stop piracy for the protection of all of you artists."

Margibi County Senator James W. Tornonlah, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, expressed delight over the conduct of the workshop on piracy, which he noted will inform artists about problems they undergo every time they use their brains to produce.

He explained that his office plays a significant role in making legislation that prohibits piracy in the country, saying "my committee was pushed to have this bill passed, and to see this institution being in existence is a plus for me, because our work did not go in vain."

Senator Tornonlah stressed that "it takes a man" to have a bill passed at the Liberian Senate, and that man who lacks lobbying skills and innovation cannot pass any bill into law at the august body.

According to him, when the bill was passed, he was a complete novice on parliamentary proceedings at the Senate, saying it was with the help of LIPO Consultant Roland Morris, and former Commerce Minister Axel Addy who got on his back to have the document enacted into law.

He urged all artists, writers and musicians to move beyond borders in the pursuit of their dreams through hard work, because such innovation brings development.

Deputy Director General for Copyright, Mr. Clifford B. Robinson, said it is critical for Liberian artists to register their creative works for protection under the law.

Robinson noted that if artists do not register their works with the Copyright Department, it could be difficult to protect their works in court. He pointed out that since 2016, no less than 100 artists have registered their works in a bid to curb piracy on creative works in the country.

Liberian musical duo Peter R. Wolo and Francis C. Kamara, commonly known as PCK and L Frankie, thanked LIPO for conducting the workshop for people in the Liberian creative sector.

They said the decision is highly welcome, but express frustration over suffering from those who commit piracy.

"Imagine we who are the producers of our songs, we don't get anything in return, before launching, the songs are already in the streets and that is something that put every artist in a very difficult position."

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