Liberia Intellectual Property Office acting Director General Theresa Thomas has described as “frustrating and disheartening” the lack of value for intellectual property among Liberian musicians.
Thomas explained that despite a three-month free registration period announced a month ago, to encourage musicians to register their works, the situation has not changed as most of them are not coming to register their music.
She added that this noncompliant posture exhibited by these musicians is unhealthy for their careers and could undermine their work to create an enabling environment where they can make money from royalties.
“We are working very hard to create the environment where they can make money from their careers, but they are not supporting us with this noncompliant posture. They need to understand that their music is their asset and should be treated in a respectful way. However, this is not the case, a situation which is making the whole thing frustrating and unbelievable.
“We have conducted countless workshops that focus on intellectual property, yet they leave these workshops without implementing what they have been taught. However, at the end of the day, they expect to play magic that will lead to the development of a music industry. That is totally impossible,” Madam Thomas continued. “We cannot have a well-functioning and collective management organization (CMO) when a vast majority of the musicians don’t value intellectual property. It is hard to work with people who you want to help but who don’t want to be helped.”
LIPO’s acting director general noted that she doesn’t know whether this noncompliant posture is coming from the same people who begged for the three months’ free registrations, but maybe it is their demand for a free promotion that is causing the problem.
“This is total stupidity if that’s the case. It is highly unbelievable that they would spend money to produce music and then give it out free in the need of promotion, without thinking about protecting it to get those legal rights to own the song,” she said.
Meanwhile, Thomas said that they are not fully distracted by the current action of musicians as they will continue working to create a better environment for the music industry.
“We might be frustrated by their actions, but we will still work to get things done the right way. We have to work for them and those few that value intellectual property,” she said.