Answering Frequently Asked Questions About IP (part 2)

Intellectual Property

The lack of awareness about Intellectual Property (IP) is one of the serious problems hindering the creation of an environment where IP rights are protected in Liberia.

The situation is so serious that a majority of IP rights holders do not register their work as mandated by the country’s 2016 IP law. This makes it easier for their works to be infringed upon because said works have not been protected to enable them to seek redress when needed.

Therefore, to address such situations, we are back with a “part 2” to the FAQ about IP, which is part of the quest to have a society that is knowledgeable about IP. So we start from where we stopped last week.

What is an Industrial Design?

Industrial Design refers to an ornamental or aesthetic aspect of an article. A design may consist of three-dimension features such as a shape or surface of an article or two-dimension features such as a pattern, line or color. Industrial Design must be new or original or non functional.

How long is Industrial Design protection?
Industrial Design is protected for Ten (10) years according to Sub-part B section 12.7 (a) of the 2016 Intellectual Property Act.

What is Geographical Indication?
Indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member State or a region or locality, in that territory where a given quality, reputation or another characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Who is referred to as Author?
This means an author, adapter, arranger or translator of any literary work that is or may be associated with music. The rights of the author are covered by the Copyright Act and include exclusive rights to reproduction, public performance, broadcasting, commercial distribution by way of sale, rental, etc. The author has the right to authorize the fixation of their works into any mechanical form (Sound Recording).

What is Blank Tape Levy
The blank tape levy, also known as the private copying levy is a levy on blank recording media meant to compensate the rights holder for the private non-commercial copying of his works. This is levied upon both the blank media and blank recording media such as DVDs, memory sticks, iPod, mp3 players among others.

What is Blanket License
These licenses are granted to copyright users such as broadcasting stations by collective management societies to allow them to publicly perform or broadcast copyright-protected music.

What is Broadcasting
Broadcasting means the transmission, by wire or wireless means of sound or images or both or the representations thereof, in such manner as to cause such images or sound to be received by the public and includes transmission by satellite.

Who is referred to as Choreographer
This is the person responsible for the creation, direction and arrangement of movement in a dance routine either in a musical, video and concert among others.

What is Cover Record
These are also known as cover versions. They are recordings by persons who are not the author of the work. They are entitled to royalties for the cover version but have to obtain permission from the copyright owner to make the cover version.

What is Collective Management Societies
These are societies that are incorporated to collectively administer copyright and related rights on behalf of their members who are the right holders. The members ordinarily assign their rights to the collecting societies who in turn collect and distribute royalties on their behalf.

The collecting societies issue “blanket licenses” to the users, namely the broadcasting stations, the concert halls, restaurants, and bars, shopping malls, discotheques and any other places where the works are either broadcast or publicly performed. The collection of royalties is based on two rights, the right to public performance of their works and the right to broadcast of their works.

There are several groups of right owners who can claim the above-mentioned rights; namely, the composer, authors, and publisher who have copyright and their rights are administered by performing rights organization.

What is Communication to the public
Communication to the public includes a live performance as well as transmission of images or sound or both of a work, performance or sound recording excluding broadcasting.

Who is a Composer
Composer means the person who writes the musical score in a song. The composer has the right to the melody while the author has the rights to lyrics. The composer rights are covered by publishing agreements as well as being protected under the Intellectual Property Act once it has been reduced to any material form including digital and transient copies.

Who is a Distributor
He distributes the records and albums. May also have a distribution agreement with the recording company but ordinarily makes his money from the sales of the works.

Who is an Executive Producer
Usually a senior executive of a recording or production company who, in view of their status or personal interest in the project, is accorded the status of a producer and oversees the project in its totality. He is an employee rather than a contracted person whose rights rest with the recording company.

What is Graphic Rights
They are the rights to print or publish the music.

Who is an Independent Producer
They are people who have demonstrated talent and initiative in the production of marketable recordings. Their main function is to discover the recording artists, sifting out good musical material and supervision the recording sessions. He determines the hit song/title track and even the order of the songs in the album.

He/she rights are contractual and the royalty due to him are determined by the contract between him and the recording company. He may insist that his name is included on the finished product. He invests in the production of the master and often markets the same to the record companies and in some instances may be able to negotiate a “label deal” with the recording company.

What is a License
The person who is licensed by the rights holder. And a licensor is the
person who grants the licenses for the use or exploitation of his works.

The manager runs the day to day affairs of the artist. He negotiates contracts and recording deals. This person should be a professional on a full-time basis.

Master recording
The finish version of a sound recording.

Mechanical rights
It is generally understood to mean the author’s right to authorize the reproduction of his work in the form of recordings (phonograms and audiovisual fixations) produced mechanically in the widest sense of the word, including electro-acoustic and electronic- procedures.

The most typical and most economically important mechanical right is the right of the composers of musical works and the authors of accompanying words to authorize the sound recording of such work. This is a right given by the copyright owner to fix the composition into a sound carrier (eg: CD, digital sound carrier etc.)

Mechanical copyright is the copyright in the specific recording itself, as issued by the record company. The mechanical copyright is created when the recording is first made, and that date or the subsequent release date will be the date from which the copyright period for the recording is calculated.

Recording contracts should identify the ownership of the mechanical copyright in the recordings to be made, as the definition of some of the rights will depend on it.

Midi Artist
Is a person who uses a midi equipment to create music. Where he is underemployment or commission, then he has no rights unless there is a contract that confers the rights. If he is not employed or under commission, he may have the rights as an arranger or co-author of the works and will be entitled to royalties for his creative works.

A musician may be a performer, composer, and author of music. As a composer or author, he has the copyright in the composition and as a performer; he would have the rights of a performer.

Musical work
Musical work means any work of musical nature irrespective of the musical quality. Its include works composed for musical accompaniment. The work is created when it is fixed in a tangible form for the first time.
A work of joint authorship is a work prepared by two or more authors whose contributions are merged inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here