Home Economy For ‘Clandestine Production And Non-Compliance’: Copyright Society Office Closes Down Several Businesses

For ‘Clandestine Production And Non-Compliance’: Copyright Society Office Closes Down Several Businesses

by newsmanager

MONROVIA: With the primary focus to protect Liberia’s creative industry against the increased waves of piracy and to ensure compliance with the law governing Intellectual Property Rights in Liberia, the Copyright Society of Liberia (COSOL), has closed down several businesses suspected to be involved in criminal acts including secret local productions of creative contents.

The enforcement exercise which was jointly carried out by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) alongside the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO), represented by COSOL, saw the closure of ten (10) businesses linked to the illegal production and sale of creative materials in the country.

The weeklong Joint Enforcement Exercise saw the closure of over ten (10) businesses in Monrovia and Paynesville City, on grounds of non-compliance with the copyright law of Liberia.

Additionally, the ten businesses including five residential homes, three (3) situated in Monrovia and two (2) in Paynesville City used mainly as factories for the unlawful production of creative contents were also shut down by the enforcement team.

Business entities that were shut down through COSOL’s enforcement initiative on grounds of non-compliance to the Copyright law of Liberia which amongst others include the lack of Copyright Clearance, Import Notification Form and Purchase Receipt are AVASH Business Center, CO More Business Center, Banou Enterprise, Dreams Electronics and Lianclare Business Center.

Others are Ekenson Business, Mother of Perpetual Blessings, and E. New Golden Business Center. D. Devine Business Center and God Favor Business Center.

As LIPO’s Secretariat in the Copyright Department, the COSOL just-ended enforcement campaign is an effort geared towards rebranding Liberia’s creative sector with the purpose of adding value to the works of creative Liberians for wealth creation.

Since its establishment in 2009, through regulation LIPO/COSOL/CR/001/2019, COSOL has taken on the role of Collective Management Organization (CMO) in Liberia.

As Liberia’s CMO, COSOL is charged with the exclusive duty under the LIPO Act of 2016 for collection and distribution of royalty for all creative arts in the country.

As LIPO’s Secretariat, COSOL has the mandate to enter into License Agreement with legal entities and the issuance of License Certificate. This authority is captured in Title 24, Liberia Code of Law Revised referred to as the Liberia Intellectual Property Act of 2016.

Since Copyright Law was birthed, Liberia has failed to setup a workable machinery to provide specific pathways for achieving value addition in gathering benefits for Liberia’s creative sector, a story that has taken an opposite turn upon COSOL establishment in 2019, under the leadership of Executive Director Prince E. Decker.

LIPO, under the leadership of its Director General, Cllr. P. Adelyn Cooper, along with COSOL, commemorated the Ninth Edition of the World Copyright Day under the Theme: “Promotes Reading, Publishing and Copyright” on April 23, 2022.

However, during the enforcement campaign several items being illegally used for the underground production of creative contents including Burning Machines, illegal Digital Video Discs (DvDs) along with seven hundred thousand Liberia Dollars (L$700,000) were confiscated and subsequently turned over to the Paynesville Magisterial Court, pending litigation.

According to COSOL’s Executive Director, the enforcement initiative which is mainly focused on Mechanical Rights is geared towards bringing into compliance businesses that have been trading in the unauthorized sales and duplication of creative contents including but not limited to audio and visual audio (Video) materials.

Decker added that the search, seizure and closure of the suspected businesses was a major success, adding that “the initiative is intended to send a resounding message of deterrence to anyone or group that intends to engage in such unlawful acts.”

Decker said: “We have favorable rating in the media thus far. I believe, we must go beyond the rating and exert more efforts to expose and punish all those pirates. The illegal businesses that were shut down are still closed. This closure is the longest in our modern Liberian copyright history,”

According to Decker, COSOL’s sleeves are rolled up to ensure that the increased waves of piracy that have posed serious threats to the economic livelihoods of Liberia’s creative artists is nip in the bud.

He said COSOL will do all within the perimeters of law to safeguard the nation’s creative sector by weeding out unscrupulous individuals and groups who are criminally undermining the growth and vibrancy of the sector.

“To ensure compliance and send a message for deterrence, we need to proceed with litigations against theses pirates. Coming into compliance should be for future endeavor, a deterrence through litigations must be served for flagrant and continuous violation of our laws. With the materials confiscated and pieces of evidence available to us, we can surely get good judgment in a court of law against theses pirates,” COSOL’s Executive Director, Prince E. Decker intoned.

Since COSOL came into existence, the entity has been working assiduously to create a clear pathway for achieving value addition in gathering benefits for Liberia’s creative industry.

COSOL has also put into place mechanisms aimed at providing security for Intellectual Properties for the financial benefit of local creative artists.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment