The ugly face of piracy has not only affected the music and film industry, among others, but it has also not spared the book publishing industry, publishers in the country have said.
It is in this vein that book publishers and Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) had a consultative meeting at Zest Lodge in Liwonde, Machinga District, on the fight against book piracy.
Book Publishers Association of Malawi (Bpam) President Maureen Masamba admitted that book piracy has become rampant in the country and that publishers have been hit hard.
“Genuine textbooks are not selling because most schools, especially private ones, have turned to counterfeit books mostly photocopied as they are sold cheaply. In addition, scanning of textbooks and sharing of the same on Whatsapp and other social media platforms is also doing a lot of damage to the publishing industry,” Masamba said.
She said the consultative workshop was timely for them to brainstorm on how to fight book piracy in the society.
“This is an initial stage of devising ways of combating this book piracy vice so that authors and publishers can benefit from their creativity. With pirated books, authors and publishers lose out economically,” Masamba said.
Bpam Executive member Alfred Msadala concurred with Masamba, saying book piracy is rampant and that perpetrators are reproducing books from the official list to sell on the black market.
“We have come up with a taskforce to map the way forward and it comprises of Malawi Union of Academic and Non Fiction Authors (Muana), Bpam, Book Sellers Association of Malawi, Cosoma and Malawi Institute of Education. We missed the presence of printers but we are consulting because they are an essential body in the book chain. The objective is to find means of civic educating people on the vice since the practice is a crime. Economic rights of many a people are stolen,” Msadala said.
Muana President Ron Muphuwa said the meeting was called to sentisise authors and publishers to their moral and economic rights as well as shed light on the pervasiveness of piracy in Malawi.
“Another focus of the meeting was on the importance of using holograms as a security measure against piracy. The meeting adopted a resolution for publishers to stick holograms on their publications by end May 2022,” Muphuwa said.
Cosoma Licensing Manager Mutty Munkhondia described the meeting as fruitful in the fight against piracy.
“The adoption of use of the holograms on books will greatly help curb piracy. It will greatly help enforcement agents as well as the public in distinguishing original products from fake ones,” Munkhondia said.