Piracy still a challenge for entertainment industry

By Alusine Sesay

Despite efforts by the government to curb piracy through the passing into law of the 2011 Copy Right Act, the entertainment industry in Sierra Leone is still being plagued by the act of piracy with artists both in the music and film industries making little or no profit from their works.

“You know when the Act was just passed by parliament there was so much momentum and noise about it. Pirates were a little bit scared then but since the campaign was only short-lived, they are at it again,” explained renowned actor Pastor Aiah Momoh of the Still Standing Records and CEO of ‘The Usher’ movie.

“The Act has been passed in parliament but the structures are yet to be put in place for its implementation. There is need for a Registrar General to be appointed to oversee the full implementation of the Act.”

CEO Momoh is currently in court pursuing charges against some people caught allegedly pirating their products.

“As I speak, we are currently in court with some people who pirated 80 copies of our Sierra Leonean movies. We are not making enough money from our work due to piracy,” he lamented, adding that the Sierra Leonean market is also too small. “Though we have improved on the content of our movies, people prefer buying foreign movies to the ones we produce here in Sierra Leone.”

Momoh has served as president of the Sierra Leone Sun Valley Union – a union of all film producing companies in Sierra Leone. He has taken part in many advocacies and mentored dozens of actors and actresses.

The actor/cum pastor has produced some classical movies with the latest being ‘The Devil in Freetown’, which features popular music and movie star, Jimmy B and others.

“This movie is undoubtedly the highest selling for now, cutting across the Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia markets. We will be in England on July 5th to showcase this film to the wider world,” he disclosed. “We have already sold 25,000 copies.”

Momoh also spoke on the proliferation of film producers, a good number of whom he said do not add any value to the film industry in the country.