Musicians in Mzuzu and the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) commemorated the World Intellectual Property Day on Tuesday with a raid of shops to confiscate materials used for pirating works of art.
The musicians, who were accompanied by the Malawi Police Services (MPS) officers, raided the Mzuzu Main Market, Depot and townships of Chibavi, Luwinga and Chiputula.
The operation managed to confiscate about 35 computers whose owners will be expected to pay K50 000 (about $74) to redeem them. The fee is also the cost for one to acquire a licence to operate a business of sharing music files.
Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) Northern Region chapter chairperson Dyghton Mbewe said the artists were confiscating equipment from owners who are not licenced to operate the business.
Said Mbewe: “We are tired of piracy. We thought of conducting the operation to send a warning to pirates. This is just the beginning. We will be doing this frequently.”
Cosoma assistant licencing officer for the Northern Region Dick Kachipande said the Copyright Act empowers them to conduct such operations.
He said the operations are meant to make sure that only those with a licence do the business of sharing music files.
“Piracy is very rampant in the Northern Region. Individuals sharing files without permission are more than those licenced. As Cosoma, we conduct such operations now and then to get rid of illegal operators,” said Kachipande.
He said Cosoma conducts sensitisation campaigns to issue out more licences.
He said money raised through such licences is channelled towards the musicians.
Piracy is an evil that has left most musicians penniless from their sweat. Recently, the creative sector was left in shock after the late Grace Chinga’s yet-to-be released album was on the market due to piracy.
And one of the musicians in Mzuzu Fitzgerald Simfukwe testified on how his Kadundulu 3 DVD found its way on the market before releasing it.
He said: “I was called in the middle of the night by a fan in Rumphi, congratulating me for a nice video he was watching at a pub. I was very surprised because by then I had not released any song. I launched an independent investigation and perpetrators were arrested.” n