The Lilongwe Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court has convicted Isaac Donda and Bentry Mwaungulu for being found in possession of machines for reproducing creative works without authorisation.
Senior resident magistrate Montfort Misunje also convicted Mwaungulu for reproducing copies of 400 music CDs without a licence from the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma).
The court heard that the two were arrested on October 14, after Cosoma licensing officer Thomas Chirambo lodged a complaint with the Central Region Police Headquarters.
“When we arrived at Falls, where the accused persons were running a shop, we found four printers for producing CD covers, a laptop computer, photocopier, various 400 master CDs where they were copying music from, an ordinary printer and over 1 000 unlabelled CDs which we have not found out their contents.
“We seized all the equipment and material and they are being tendered as evidence in court,” said police prosecutor Patricio Phiri.
While the two convicts pleaded for the court’s leniency, Mwaungulu stunned the few musicians in the courtroom with his mitigation.
“I have two children and I look after my late brother’s children as well. If I get a maximum sentence, they will all suffer,” he said.
But Misunje convicted the two in line with Section 131, Subsection 4, Article 3 of the Copyright Infringement Act of 2016.
The master CDs of Malawi’s top musicians, including Skeffa Chimoto, Black Missionaries and Lucius Banda, are valued at K30 million, according to Cosoma.