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Last Updated: Aug 12th, 2011 - 17:45:46 
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Sierra Leone.
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EDITORIALS  

The Copy Right Law is meaningless ifÖ
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Aug 12, 2011, 17:12
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Wednesday July 13, 2011 was a milestone as the long-awaited Copy Right/Anti-Piracy Bill was passed in to law in the House of Parliament in Freetown. As Awareness Times welcomes this historic law, the question on the lips of many in the country is what next?

 

We have no doubt about the significance of this law and the immense benefits that go with it, but this newspaper believes the Copy Right/Anti-Piracy law will be meaningless if Sierra Leoneans, in the private sector and in government, fail to make it work without fair or favour.

 

There was jubilation everywhere in Freetown and other parts of the country when this bill became law last month. Executive members of the Cassette Sellers Association CSA, who have been campaigning for aegis for this law, and Sierra Leone musicians in and out of the country, were equally ecstatic and delighted.

 

Piracy over the years has seriously damaged the financial returns of Sierra Leone musicians, writers, and many artistic professionals in the country. Now, the next challenge is to implement measures where violators of this Copy Right/Piracy law are dealt with according to law.

 

That is why this newspaper welcomes the penalties that have been put in place to punish violators who stalked their tills and shops with dubbed cassettes, CDs, books, Gara dying etc in Sierra Leone. The violation of this Act of Parliament, which covers both local and international audio/video products, is very bad business for all artists.

 

A fine of Le 40,000,000.00 (forty million leones) will be levied on any violator of this law plus an additional Le 60,000,000.00 (sixty million leones) fine will be imposed on any importer of piracy gadgets, the CSA press release confirmed.

 

The Awareness Times believes this important law will work only if we put our hands on deck to make it succeed. The government must put measures in place to actually sensitise the public about Citizensí Arrest and how to work with the police in the event of arresting violators.

 

It is legally acceptable for ordinary people in the country to arrest anyone who is found going against any law of the land. But through government sensitisation campaigns, the population will find it easier to know what it takes to implement Citizensí Arrest, what to do and what not do.

 

Another worrying challenge is the judicial system which tends to punish only the small fish and leaving the big sharks to go scot-free. Our only hope is that awareness is spreading thick and fast. Appropriate punishment schemes must be doled out to anyone found wanting.

 

With this strategy, we are convinced the Copy Right/Anti-Piracy law, whose campaign started in 1996, will be of benefit to all and sundry.


© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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