The Liberia Intellectual Property Office or LIPO offers free registration of songs, trademarks of business entities, and inventors operating in Liberia for the next three months.
LIPO authorities made the disclosure Thursday, 26 April at the Monrovia YMCA during the observance of International IP Day. The celebration brought together officials from line government ministries and agencies, movie actors and musicians, among others.
Officer-In-Charge Prince E. Decker says the decision to announce the free registration is to provide safety for citizens that are into Arts and Craft to avoid piracy.
He says LIPO is responsible to regulate policies for creation and innovation in Liberia, including industrial property and copyrights.
He says LIPO was established in July 2016 thru an Act of the Legislature, adding that before then there were two separate offices - industrial property that covers trademarks, and the Liberia copyrights office, but lawmakers decided to dissolve both offices and institute one.
Mr. Decker continues that LIPO has been creating awareness and educating stakeholders, and realized that over the past time there had not been more registration of copyrights, and if artists wanted their works protected, they need to have them registered.
According to him, none of the top songs in Liberia is legalized, so it’s from this backdrop that LIPO offers three-month free registration for Liberian intellecture and innovation properties.
The LIPO boss says April 26 each is set aside by the World Intellectual Property to be celebrated as World Intellectual Property Day, of which Liberia is a member, noting that the essence is to celebrate and appreciate the development of IP in mankind.
“The registration process is not only restricted to artists or inventors, but as long you are a local producer operating a printing press, newspaper, in order to avoid enforcement by officials of LIPO at the time of enforcement”, says Decker.
Meanwhile, LIPO has for the first time held a special seminar for artists and inventors to enlighten them on the legal framework of intellectual property and the essence of moral and economic rights.
The special seminar dubbed intellectual property ( IP) clinic, highlights the importance of IP as an asset to commerce and economic development and the present status of IP in Liberia. Participants included a large number of artists and inventors and IP users.
"If we are to build society knowledge about IP, it is essential that we reach out to the creators to ensure that they are equipped with the IP knowledge needed to succeed in their fields to avoid people exploiting their talent.
While it is the truth that IP has the potential to help reduce poverty, create employment and accelerate economic growth, however, this can only be done through comprehensive public awareness campaigns to boost understanding of the system and its potential benefits, which we are doing now.”
Speaking on behalf of fellow artists, movie actors, a Liberia international comedian and movie actor, popularly known here as “Wedigar” expresses delight over the celebration of IP Day, adding that it was important for government through LIPO to undertake such a task for the protection of their works.
“With this I know this government will do more, because someone of us who are into movies, and music after releasing of our works, the next day they are all in the streets, being sold for small money, but we thank God that the government is asking us to have our works registered to avoid piracy”, he expresses.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne