Globally, artists and their works are protected through copyright laws. Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution.
All over the world artists’ rights are protected by law. Even on the continent, artists are making money and becoming millionaires because of strong copyrights laws that prevent bootleggers from copying their works and selling them at cutthroat price on the black market.
In Liberia, this has not always been the case. We can vividly recall the situation of talented musicians like Morris Dorley who gained continental acclaim in the 1970s with hits such as “Who are you baby”.
Though his hit records still remain classics today, Morris Dorley died dirt poor in 1992 in a displaced camp. Of course, it is widely believed that Dorley was exploited by his business partner who distributed his records; on the other hand, if there had been copyright laws to protect his works, even today, Dorleh’s relatives would have benefited from his protected works.
Just as Liberian musicians suffer because of the lack of copyright laws, so too has the movie industry. Since the end of the civil war, the Liberian movie industry has bounced back like never before, with an influx of high quality movies being produced on a regular basis. Despite the regularity of production schedule, movie producers and artists continue to lament the high level of piracy of their artistic works.
Against this background, it is all too welcoming to know that the Liberian government on Tuesday, June 14, 2106 passed into law the Liberia Intellectual Property Act.
The law is expected to protected artists, creators and inventors against piracy and bootlegging of their products.
For us at the Capitol Times, it is wholeheartedly welcoming the passage of the Intellectual Property Act. This is a great step in ensuring protection for people’s hard labor as they strive day-in day-out to provide the public the fruits of their talents.
It is only fair that our artists remain protected under the law.
The next in the process is enforcement of the law. Mechanisms must now be put in place to clamp down hard on pirates and bootleggers who illegally duplicate and sell Liberian movies and songs without the creators benefitting.