Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) president Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango has said the recent conviction of two men for piracy will deter would-be offenders and help fight against the malpractice in the country.
He was commenting on a court ruling in Lilongwe where senior resident magistrate Montfort Misunje convicted Isaac Donda and Bentry Mwaungulu for being found in possessions of machines for reproducing creative works without authorisation.
“For a long time we have waged war against piracy with little gains. We, therefore, believe the development will set precedence against people who want to pirate musicians’ works,” said Mhango in an interview.
He said government has always been in the forefront against piracy by putting in place several legislations, including the new Copyright Act.
“The conviction of the two has come fast on the back of our campaigns and efforts to fight piracy,” he said.
Apart from jointly convicting the two for reproducing creative works without authorisation, magistrate Misunje also convicted Mwaungulu for reproducing copies of 400 music CDs without a licence from the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma).
He convicted the two in line with Section 131, Subsection 4, Article 3 of the Copyright Infringement Act of 2016.
The master CDs of the country’s celebrated artists are valued at K30 million.
According to court documents, the two were on Monday fined K1.6 million for each count or serve a combined jail term of 24 months.
Donda on the other hand has been fined K100 000 or serve a 12-month jail term in default.
This is the first case of copyright infringement since the new Copyright Act was enacted in 2016.