By Emmanuel wise Jipoh
Liberia has enhanced its capacity in copyright, and the West African nation is expected to emerge as one of the leaders in copyright monitoring on the continent, the director of the Copyright Society of Liberia (COSOL), Atty. Prince Emmanuel Decker, has disclosed.
Addressing reporters in observance of COSOL’s 3rd anniversary over the weekend, Atty. Decker described the accomplishment as a milestone for Liberia.
“We’ve strived to improve this sector despite our challenges; we have worked to protect the country’s image and rebrand the creative sector”, he said.
He acknowledged gains made by stakeholders in protecting Liberian artists’ creative contents from piracy, including illegal usages of such contents by unscrupulous individuals and groups.
He maintains that COSOL is also focused on protecting the best interests of producers and owners of creative materials across the country.
He emphasized the dedication and commitment of his team in bringing much-needed security and protective relief to artists here who, over the years, have been victims of illegal operations of people involved in piracy and other acts of criminality against owners of creative works.
He acknowledged tremendous efforts in three years, demonstrating efficiency as Liberia’s only Collective Management Organization (CMO) through the collection and distribution of royalties for wealth creation.
According to Atty. Decker, the minimum timeframe to achieve such feat by international intellectual property organization is ten years but added that through the commitment of his hardworking staff, Liberia, through COSOL, is poised to be a leader on the African continent by shifting the working dynamics toward resounding success.
COSOL is the secretariat within the Copyright Department of the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO), headed by Cllr. Pinky Adelyn Cooper. It was established to serve as a Collective Management Organization (CMO), back in 2009 and is charged with the exclusive duty to collect and distribute royalty for all creative arts.
Since the idea of copyright came about a century ago, the system in Liberia has failed to provide specific pathways for achieving value addition for the benefit of Liberian artists until COSOL under the leadership of Attorney Decker took up the task to rebrand Liberia’s creative sector.
As an expert in Intellectual Property Law, Decker who once served as Special Assistant in the office of LIPO’s Director General, Cllr. P. Adelyn Cooper, was empowered with regulation LIPO/COSOL/CR/001/2009 under Title 24, Liberia Code of Law Revised, referred to as the “Intellectual Property Act of 2016” which recognizes COSOL as LIPO’s Secretariat.
With just paperwork on the (LIPO/COSOL/CR/001/2009) regulation and single office space, Decker was charged with the responsibility to use his vast professional knowledge and hands-on experience to restore Liberia’s creative industry to vibrancy and for the subsequent economic benefits of Liberia’s creative actors.
“Looking back three years ago on August 17, 2019, was dream come true. When we took the helm of authority, we were provided an office that was not even spacious enough to host our various departments and a regulation that established the Copyright Society of Liberia.
These were the things we were given to run the secretariat that is charged with the duties to collect and distribute royalty.”
Decker said all relevant ingredients that were needed to ensure that COSOL carries out its mandate as the only Collective Management Organization in Liberia were lacking, ranging from legal framework, low human resource capacity to poor public awareness. Editing by Jonathan Browne