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Businessperson convicted of piracy

Dora Makwinja

In its drive of fighting piracy in the country which is robbing creatives of their income, Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) was all smiles on Tuesday when the Mwanza Magistrate Court convicted 56-year old Kaitano Levison.

Cosoma Assistant Licencing Officer and Regional Head – South, Tikhale Chikanda, said on November 3 2021, they carried out a joint operation with Malawi Police Service focusing copyright-related issues at Mwanza Trading Centre.

“In the course of the operation, the man was found selling pirated CDs and was arrested and charged with the offences of selling pirated copies which is an infringement on copyright law,” Chikanda said.

He said the Mwanza Magistrate Court heard the case and that First Grade Magistrate Smart Maruwasa convicted Levison of the offences of being found in possession of pirated materials and distributing pirated materials.

Levison, who comes from Chikolosa Village in Traditional Authority Kanduku in Mwanza District, was fined K150,000 in respect of each count.

Chikanda said 75 percent of the total fines will go to copyright owners as stipulated in the Copyright Act of 2016.

Cosoma has teamed up with Malawi Police Service to fight piracy, which is rampant in this digital age.

Recently, the copyright body’s Executive Director Dora Makwinja called upon people in the country to respect copyright and refrain from buying pirated copies.

Cosoma recently also joined forces with MultiChoice Malawi in a quest to protect Creative Copyright and associated Intellectual Property rights through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, ahead of the launch of the Partners Against Piracy (Pap) initiative.

The agreement will ensure that Cosoma and MultiChoice collaborate in the fight, especially against content piracy, and raising awareness in line with the Pap campaign.

According to a statement, the campaign will consist of activities that will raise awareness by educating the public on the unintended consequences of piracy and the threat it poses to lives, livelihoods, society and personal cyber security.

The statement says Pap seeks to ensure that Malawi’s content creators earn a living from their talent and increase the demand for locally produced content through the consumption of their authorised works.

Piracy involves the unauthorised reproduction, distribution, use including sharing or selling of copyrighted content.

Cosoma says piracy robs content creators, artists and entire creative communities of their royalties and that it also robs the government of taxes.

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