COSOMA joins Multichoice in fight against use of South African decoders in Malawi


Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) has joined forces with Multichoice in fight against use of South African decoders in Malawi, saying the behaviour has plagued the local economy and creative industry as it enables people in Malawi to consume South African content outside of its jurisdiction.

Multichoice said in a joint statement with COSOMA that the main form of piracy being experienced in Malawi is Cross-Border Piracy whereby decoders are bought under false pretences in one country and then shipped to neighbouring countries, sold and illegally connected.

Consumers in Malawi usually subscribe to the South African accounts of Multichoice because the subscription fees are low when compared to the fees charged in Malawi.

But COSOMA noted that this kind of behaviour has plagued Malawi’s local economy and creative industry with hundreds of entities cropping up in Malawi, working hand-in-hand with illegal entities in South Africa, enabling locals to consume South African content outside of its jurisdiction.

Dora Makwinja, Executive Director of the Copyright Society of Malawi, said that while the battle against piracy in the areas of software, film and music has played out sensationally in the popular media and different circles, piracy of broadcasters’ signals has received scant attention.

She noted that lack of awareness about the issue of signal piracy in Malawi is attributable to mainly the absence of empirical assessment of both the scale of signal piracy in the country and the associated financial losses incurred by the broadcasting industry.

She, however, added that evidence suggests that broadcast piracy affects small and large broadcasters alike wherever they operate.

“In fact, broadcasters in developing and least developed countries suffer the greatest harm from signal piracy because they often do not benefit from the economies of scale enjoyed by their counterparts in more mature economies.

“Signal piracy makes it significantly more difficult for broadcasters such as MultiChoice to sell their content in foreign markets, especially when viewers in those markets already have access to the content through illegal means. Much as we (COSOMA) have focused our attention on fighting piracy of physical products, it is high time that we moved to fighting piracy of the illegal access to content. We are therefore pleased to join forces with MultiChoice Malawi in this initiative.” Ms. Makwinja said.

According to Multichoice, local consumers of South African content via illegal decoders or fraudulently acquired subscriptions fail to realise that the content being consumed is produced, licensed and commissioned for a specific audience.

The company expressed concern that illegal consumption of the content elsewhere, negatively impacts the content owners lives and livelihoods and furthermore, infringes on intellectual property rights and laws which govern where content is meant to be consumed and under what circumstances.

“As we engage key industry stakeholders that are collectively determined to clamp down on content piracy, we are proud to lend our voice to amplify and create awareness against content theft,” said MultiChoice Malawi Managing Director, Gus Banda.

“Contrary to the belief that piracy is a harmless crime, it in fact has a serious negative effect on our economy. It harms investor confidence and tax revenue, and can also affect trade opportunities, if we are not seen as a country where intellectual property is respected and protected”, Mr. Banda added.

Digital video piracy costs the entertainment industry up to $71 billion every year, according to the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center – harming businesses, destroying lives and livelihoods and stifling economic growth.

This huge industry loss – more than the annual gross domestic product of Mozambique, Uganda and Guinea combined – represents the impact on the US entertainment sector alone. The economic impact on the rest of the world is similarly catastrophic.

Meanwhile, MultiChoice Malawi, has thrown its weight behind Partners Against Piracy (PAP), a Pan-African campaign to fight content piracy. PAP works to protect the livelihoods of the thousands of creatives and broadcast professionals and support the local economy, especially at this time when creative content piracy is rising – particularly since the onset of Covid-19 lockdowns, which forced many people to stay home, resulting in a surge in demand for TV and film entertainment.



  1. You are not addressing the exorbitant prices you charge Mr. Gus. You are going against globalization. You closed your offices and forced customers to pay using very unreliable channels. Face the music of multichoice Malawi’s incompetence. People have resorted to using Netflix and smart TVs that you don’t offer. Go with the times rather than asking government to bend the rules for just your benefit.

  2. This is ridiculous. Dont you know the reasons people are opting for the South African services?

  3. Simple issue, make the subscription fair. Mukutibera kwambiri chonde.

  4. Multi-choice Malawi is fucked up…people compare prices. In our own country it’s expensive and somewhere else is cheap and accessable do you really want me to pay such big when I have options?

    Think multi-choice and you COSOMA. I wish you would be talking of dropping prices than your South Africa competitors

  5. Bra bra bra about content and artist, nothing about consumers. Are you trying to force consumers to consume content that they are not interested in?? I would have loved to hear that Multchoice is working hard to align it’s content and pricing to that offered by it mother company in SA so that consumers are disuaded subscribing to SA.

    Further more we are in COMESA region, why not aligning content at COMESA level so that viewers can watch content at regional level, after all Multchoice is Multchoice, it shouldn’t matter where consumers are paying, they could manage customers at central data centre while having paypoint anywhere. For artist, that wud also up competitiveness since they wud be competing at regional level.

    This mindset of bulldozing content on consumers should stop forthwith

  6. Why should they fight as Multichoice is charging more then double then South Africa so it’s ones choice and they are not stilling

  7. As much as we would like to consume local broadcast content, it’s lacking in everything. Look at your DSTV packages and what RSA packages offer. Your packages literally say that DSTV Malawi is for the rich forks while your counterparts says we’re here to entertain the masses. That’s what difference between Malawi and RSA DSTV. Your counterparts know that majority of the people who pay for subscriptions are men and we’re looking for cheap and affordable means of watching the games hence at the end of the day, we end up opting for RSA decoders. You want change, yet fail to embrace the high rates of subscriptions, shame on you COSOMA. Malawians aren’t your co to milk when it suits you. High internet , voice and text messages and yet you never condemned the service provider but come and condemn the consumer. your the biggest hypocrites killing this country to develop digitally.

  8. Is COSOMA a real or virtual entity? It surprises me to see COSOMA joining other people’s fight and failing to start it’s own. Creative material for many artists – local and international are sold without producers rights at every street corner in Malawi. Local music artists have no protection against piracy yet COSOMA is there watching. Be real COSOMA!
    If people import South African decoders because of price advantage, then MultiChoice Malawi must fix its pricing structure. Otherwise people with stick to Azam forever.

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