Musicians Union of Liberia to tackle piracy – Music In Africa

Gboguy’s statement was issued despite the possibility of a lawsuit brought by his rival at the polls, Rokenzy G Smith, who said another election needed to take place.

Smith took to social media to say the election was “marred by fraud and in total violation of the constitution”. “We are headed to the court for a thorough rerun of the caricature dubbed as election,” he said. It is unclear what would become of Gboguy’s administration should Smith go ahead.

Nonetheless, Gboguy has issued a statement concerning his plans for the union he now runs.

“The bedrock of any institution is its legal framework,” Gboguy wrote in an official statement. “In the case of the creative sector, its bedrock is intellectual property protection; without a functioning intellectual property regime, there can be no music industry.

“As it stands, about 95% of Liberians get their audio and audio-visual entertainment illegally. The streets of Monrovia and other counties are washed with pirated works being sold openly. We will also work robustly with the relevant government agencies and our counterparts in the collective societies to ensure the set up of a collective management organisation (CMO) in order to alleviate poverty among musicians.”

Gboguy’s plan was made public at the same time that the Liberia Intellectual Property Office (LIPO) promised to protect Liberian musicians from piracy. Recently the body led by Adelyn Cooper organised a workshop aimed at educating music professionals on copyright issues.

“Under my leadership at LIPO,” said Cooper, “my team and I will try to stop piracy for the protection of all of you artists.”

Besides the focus on piracy, the new leader of MULIB said he administration would try to help Liberian musicians with the knowledge needed to run music as a business. The new administration would also work to change the perception of older Liberian music and the airplay of Liberian music.

“We will focus on addressing issues of poor content quality by setting the bar through policies, education, system-building and access to funding,” he said. “We will initiate different short-, medium-, and long-term programmes that create a system through which nothing but best-quality Liberian music and entertainment reaches our local and international audience.

“We shall use our strength and influence to shift the national perception when it comes to the importance and benefits of Liberian musical heritage, as well as ensuring that we have at least 70% mandatory airtime on all radio and TV stations by legislation.”

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