“It is quite unfortunate that the copyright officer has not done well enough to save creative works from pirates. But we are about to implement a regulation this time around to crack down on these pirates for good,” Officer-in-Charge of the Liberian Copyright Office, Clifford Robinson, said.
He said the issue of piracy has been in Liberia for over 15 years and because little or no attention was paid during the early stage. Since then it has mushroomed into a million dollar business enterprise, increasing the demand for cheaper entertainment work.
“The market has been polluted by pirates but we are working to see how these guys can be defeated without striking back like they did when my predecessor launched Operation Big Fish a few years ago,” he added.
Mr. Robinson disclosed that his office would soon begin enforcing regulations on the books for the protection of artistic works, which and would impose penalties on anyone found guilty of selling pirated goods.
“Enough is enough, this thing has to stop,” he said, “Our artists on a daily basis are losing thousands of dollars because their works have been pirated and put out for cheaper price.”
He said this is as a result of a series of consultations between heads of ministries that work directly with the copyright office that have pledged total commitment to the fight against copyright infringement.
Mr. Robinson added that the long battle of getting the full cooperation of ministries in the fight is gradually becoming a reality and before the end of the year most of the regulations will have already been enforced.
He noted, “When these regulations are implemented they grant copyright ownership to content creators, giving them an authority where they are able to decide on the usage of their work and allowing them to generate money from the use.
“This buttresses the support of artists and makes them gain incentives from their works.”
He further said part of the implementation of this regulation is to introduce the hologram stamp for the security of artistic works; but that this cannot happen when pirated works are proliferated in large numbers.
“We will firstly get rid of this pirated product soon, then educate distributors, marketers and artists on how this stamp can be acquired and used,” he emphasized.
However, critics say there is a huge doubt if these regulations will be accomplished since it has been on the book for a considerable time.
Critics argue that the failure of the copyright office to put the hologram stamp on the market is proof that they don’t care about the pains artists are going through at the hands of pirates.