Senate chairman on Commerce and Trade, Margibi County Senator Jim Tornolah; LIPO Director-General P. Adelyn Cooper; President of the Liberia Movie Union, Artus Frank and other dignitaries at the the World IP Day. 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.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
… Index shows country retained gains while others improved, declinedThe Guyana passport can still get Guyanese travellers to 88 countries without the need for a visa, but the progression of other countries has seen Guyana drop in the 2019 rankings of the Henley and Partners Passport Index.According to the 2019 statistics, Guyana is now ranked at number 58, a reduction of three spots from the 55th ranking it received from the Index in 2018. The highest-ranked Caribbean country on the Index is Barbados, which is ranked at 24Guyana has dropped three places in the world of visa-free travelwith 159 visa-free destinations.Barbados last year was ranked at 21. It also declined in terms of destinations. Barbados is followed by The Bahamas (26, 154); St Kitts and Nevis (27, 151); Trinidad and Tobago (30, 148); St Lucia (31, 145); St Vincent and the Grenadines (32, 144) and Grenada (33, 143).The Henley Passport Index has historical data spanning 14 years. The Index and its contents are based on data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA). It is updated using in-house research and open source online data.The Index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations, and is updated in real time throughout the year when visa policy changes come into effect.With Guyana’s oil and gas sector, there is much expectation that the local passport will increase in power and usability. Indeed, the Guyana Government has said that it wanted the country included in the list of countries that can travel to 26 countries in Europe, known as the Schengen area, without a passport.There have also been moves to give Guyanese business owners and frequent travellers the option to choose a 46-page machine-readable passport, at a cost of $10,000 as compared to the country’s current 32-page passport.During his Budget 2019 presentation in the National Assembly last year, Finance Minister Winston Jordan announced the new passport. The Minister explained that the new passport would reduce both the cost and the time spent to renew the document once it has expired.The Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke to persons at the Central Immigration Passport Office about this new measure. Collin Chung, a Venezuelan by birth with Guyanese parentage, said as a frequent traveller, this new passport would be quite convenient for those persons who were too busy to undertake the renewal process and should be embraced.“I think the 46 pages passport would be beneficial, because we are entering industrialisation through our exploitation of petroleum in the country, so it would open a lot of doors and break down barriers to expand on tourism within the country.”In expressing her views, Gloria Giddings said that although she was simply visiting the country, she could appreciate how the new measure would benefit the regular air traveller.It was only last year that Guyana’s passport had increased in value according to the Henley and Partners Passport Index. The Index had shown that Guyanese can travel to 88 countries visa-free/visa-on-arrival, moving the country up four places on the Index’s rankings, to 55 in the world.According to the 2017 index, Guyana’s passport allowed Guyanese to travel to 81 countries without requiring a visa or with a visa granted on arrival.