Copyright Office Wants Musicians Get Royalties

The Officer-in-Charge of the Liberia Copyright Office (LCO), Ernest Bruce, has stressed the need for musicians to be compensated when their music is played.

Mr. Bruce who spoke at the start of the Collective Management Enhancement Project in Monrovia over the weekend said that Liberia is designing a system to ensure that Liberian artists are given royalties each and every time their music is played anywhere in the country whether it’s in taxis, hotels, radio stations, etc. adding that the Nigerian system is being used as a model.

Mr. Bruce said the process is tedious due to funding as it would take over 500,000 United States dollars to start the process of ensuring that all musical artists are compensated for their work, adding that technical devices would be used to ensure effectiveness.

He then introduced Chief Tony Okoroji of the Copyright Office in Nigeria to help their Liberian counterparts get a Collective Management Organization (CMO) and to sign a reciprocal agreement that would see Liberian artists receiving royalties if their music is played in Nigeria and Nigerian artist to get royalties when their music is played in Liberia.

For his part, the Chairman of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji during the workshop held recently at the YMCA in Monrovia conference room said, “I believe that apart from the tremendous social impact of music, movies, literature and the entire creative endeavor, the contributions of the creative industries to the growth of the economy in our region ought to be tapped.”

He stated further, “I am convinced that if we do the right things, the creative industries should be significant employers of labor in Liberia catering to many talented Liberians.”

Chief Okoroji said that after the 2009 No Music Day uproar in his country which sought the intervention of the Federal government the Government agreed that not only should all stations pay copyright royalties but each of the stations must play at least 80% Nigerian music under the nation’s broadcast code.

He said, “The entire Liberian nation and the policy makers must be mobilized to imbibe the concept of intellectual property. Never ending attention must be drawn to the intellectual property battle. Your communication must be powerful and relentless. Whenever possible, I suggest that you employ your best known creative talents and their images in your communication.”