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Liberia wants anti-piracy efforts strengthened

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Liberia’s Copyright Office in Monrovia has held a one-day seminar on the Importance of aNational Anti-Piracy Program (Hologram Security Stamp).

The copyright office says most Liberian musicianshave been cheated from the sales of their works, including movies, songs, books and other creative arts.
Speaking during the launch Wednesday, December 9, 2015, at the YMCA on Crown Hill, Broad Street, the Co-chairperson of the Liberia Copyright Management Board,E. Tonieh Williams, said the introduction of the hologram security stamp in the commerce of Liberia would stop the activities of pirates, who are not only depriving creators, but also killing softly and weakling their various industries.

He emphasized that intellectual property rights are like any other property rights that allow a creator or owner of a patent, trademark or copyright to benefit from his or her work or investment, adding, “These rights are outlined in Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which set forth the right to benefit from the production of moral and material interest resulting from authorship of any scientific, literary or artistic production.”

Mr. Williams said the specific function and core function of the Liberia Copyright Office is to ensure protection for moral, economic and related rights of authors, creators and producers in their literary and artistic works.

According to him, the Hologram Security Stamp is a tamper proof sticker designated by the Liberia Copyright Office, which is engrossed in the seal of the Republic of Liberia, with anti-counterfeiting features and serial codes.

The Co-chair has recommended an urgent need to educate local musicians, actors, relevant government institutions, and the general public to accept and assist the Hologram System, adding that mass education in the form of workshop, seminar, radio and television, music, mobile communication and drama should be conducted aggressively for one month prior to the launch of the hologram and subsequently on a periodic basis.

He added that copyright enforcement is the function of the State and needs the concerted effort of the State, stakeholder and the industry as a pre-requisite to achieving the desired results, saying “Government is losing lot of revenue from unpaid taxes and levies as a result of piracy.

Giving an overview of activities of the Liberia Copyright Office earlier, the Officer-In-Charge, CliffordBlamoh Robinson, Jr.said the project is among several projects that have been embarked upon to enhance the wellbeing of literary artistic areas, including the Marrakesh Treaty which was signed months ago by Mr. Beyan Kota, president of the Christian Association of the Blind.

Mr. Robinson said this treaty is mainly focused at protecting and promoting the plight of visually impaired persons. He said others include workshop on the Swakopmun protocol, which has to do with traditional knowledge and decentralization processes of the copyright office to other parts of the country to create more access to creator and right holders to have easy access to copyright when their work is produced.

Meanwhile, the deputy-officer-in-charge of the copyright office, Mrs. Natalie Juwlesaid copyright or author right is a legal term used to describe rights that creators have over

heir literary and artistic works.
She said they range from books, music, painting, sculpture, and films to computer program, database, advertisement, maps, and technical drawings, adding, “Copyright protection extends only to expressions ideas procedures and not methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such.

Madam Juwle narrated that copyright may not be available for a number of objects such as titles, slogans, or logos, depending on whether they contain sufficient authorship in the country.

By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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