The Director-General of Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) P. Adelyn Cooper has assured creative individuals including musicians, filmmakers, and innovators across the country of the agency’s commitment to intensify the war against piracy.
Atty. Cooper in a remark during the celebration of the World Intellectual Property day over the weekend in Monrovia at the BYC sports pitch which brought together over 300 creative individuals, informed the gathering that the agency has developed a well inclusive and robust plan to fight piracy (intellectual property theft) which has caused the creative industries to lose thousands of dollars.
“Once again, I’m assuring you of the agency’s commitment to eradicate or minimize piracy in Liberia to the lowest level possible. We feel your pain; therefore, we have resolved to do everything possible to create an environment where creativity can thrive by becoming profitable.
“I promised you, no matter the situation, we will do everything possible to make sure that we prosecute those individuals who are in the habits of piracy,” Atty. Cooper said.
Since its inception in 2000, every year on April 26, the World IP Day highlights, through the lens of a specific theme, how IP rights encourage innovation and creativity. This year’s theme is “Reach for Gold: IP and Sports”. The day is set aside by the World Intellectual Property Day to explore how innovation, creativity and IP rights encourage and protect them support the development and worldwide enjoyment of sports.
Atty. Cooper added that the office is aware that in order for innovation and creativity to thrive in Liberia, the agency will continue its IP awareness campaign and plan to launch a legal aid for creators to sue pirates since most Liberian artists and inventors do not have IP lawyers to fight their cases if their works are pirated.
“The essence of continuing this awareness is to strengthen the country IP regime by having all citizens educated about IP, piracy and its negative impact on the country. We cannot stop counterfeiting and piracy if people are not aware of the risk of purchasing pirated work. Meanwhile, the legal aid services we are about to provide is intended to protect and encourage protection of new creation and economic growth,” she said.
LIPO is a semi-autonomous governmental agency whose mandate is to protect and promote the works of inventors and innovators through the Industrial Property laws of Liberia in collaboration with conventions, protocols, and treaties relative to intellectual property rights protection to which Liberia is a signatory.
Part of LIPO functions is also to ensure that all creators benefit justly from their creation and that Government benefits from a tax deduction of royalties and to encourage fair competition in the sale of copyright products and services.
LIPO began the celebration with a parade before convening at the BYC Sports pitch to climax the celebration with a kickball and football match, where the institution faced the Liberia Move Union (LIMU) and the Musicians Union of Liberia (MULIB). The football game was won by the Liberia Movie Union and the Kickball game won by LIPO.