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Kuwait should do more to protect intellectual property rights: US envoy

‘First Man’ screened at VOX Cinema as part of ‘Discover America’

KUWAIT: US Ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence Silverman. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Hollywood film ‘First Man’ was screened at the Avenues Mall on Tuesday. The event was organized by the US Embassy in Kuwait, which called on authorities in Kuwait “to do more” with regards to the issue of intellectual property rights. The screening held at the VOX Cinema is part of a two-week ‘Discover America’ event showcasing music, film, food, sports, automobiles, education and tourism.

“What happens if people pirate a film? It has a domino effect on everyone – the producers will not be able to get back their money invested in the project. They will not be able to produce better movies in the future since they cannot cover the fees of their talents,” said US Ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence Silverman. “We really need to look at this issue seriously. Kuwait has been doing a lot but I think we need more to protect not just films but all aspects of artistic work, which is being undermined by piracy,” he said.

He noted that for several months, the US Embassy has been working very productively with the leadership of the Ministry of Information, the National Library and the Copyright Office on enhanced copyright legislation that will increase protections for intellectual property of Kuwaiti creators and all other creators, which will allow Kuwait to join two important international copyright treaties. “We hope this amended bill will be submitted to parliament soon. Let me stress: These changes to copyright legislation will help Kuwaiti creators protect and market their impressive works, especially in the digital space, and can help make Kuwait a destination for creative content – an incentive for the economy to diversify and for foreign investors to invest here,” Silverman said.

Silverman thanked VOX Cinema for hosting the embassy event and all partners and companies participating in the Discover America events this year. The embassy is hosting the ‘Discover America’ event for the sixth consecutive year, featuring events throughout Kuwait and highlighting different aspects of the United States. “I am glad so many of you could join us for this exclusive screening of ‘First Man’ that tells the incredible story of the first person to set foot on the Moon – Neil Armstrong – played here by Ryan Gosling,” he said.

He said Armstrong nearly died a year before his historic landing, when he was forced to eject from a lunar landing research vehicle mere seconds before it crashed. “Armstrong picked himself up from the near-death experience and one year later, made his giant leap for mankind. Everything important starts with an idea, a talented mind trying something new, and dedication to not give up when things don’t work the first, second or even third time,” Silverman added.

“Armstrong proved that whatever we can imagine is achievable – that’s a lesson for all of us to live by. It is therefore important for all of us – and for our governments – to create an environment where our inventors can invent, our creators can create, and our entrepreneurs can start new businesses without fear that their work and efforts – what we call their ‘their intellectual property’ – will be stolen or misappropriated.”

He also told the audience that the embassy is working on bringing back to Kuwait a NASA engineer who spent much of her career working on the Mars Rover project. “We hope she will return to Kuwait to inspire additional young people by appearing at the space exhibit of the Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Center early next year,” he noted.

By Ben Garcia

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