Under Malawi’s copyright laws enacted in 2016, possession of pirated materials is an offense that attracts a penalty of MK5 million and 2 years in prison with hard labour.
In line with this legal directive, the copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA), has launched an operation that aims at bringing culprits of the offenses to book.
The piracy busting body began the operation in Lilongwe, where computers and other gadgets that stored pirated materials were confiscated.
In an interview, COSOMA licensing manager Mutty Munkhondia said piracy is retrogressive on the part of uplifting the creative industry in the country.
He, further, emphasized that the anti-piracy society will not relent in safeguarding artistic productions in the land.
“It’s high time our members started benefitting from their work,” said Munkhondia.
He further urged owners of copy shops to register their businesses with COSOMA to be licenced and start conducting their businesses legitimately.
“Once we seize their equipment, we don’t give them back till they get a license. So, they must choose to comply with the laws,” added Munkhondia.
Other offenses related to piracy include, duplicating, reproducing, selling and distributing arts materials without permission of the artist.
In Malawi, people are yet to embrace the culture of buying art works. They simply share them either on WhatsApp and other electronic channels.
This has led to many artists failing to find benefits from their productions. Consequently, they fail to consistently produce good quality materials.
In an interview, one of the fiercest vocalist in Mzuzu, Lick C, Isaac Msiska disclosed that since he started producing music ten years ago, nothing has come out of it.
“People can’t support us buy buying our work. They simply share on WhatsApp. We fail to find the revenue for producing next projects because, we invest a lot without harvesting anything,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, COSOMA, according to Munkhondia, will run the operation against piracy across the country and, in conjunction with the Malawi Police, bring culprits of piracy to book.