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Cosoma engages players on Copyright Act of 2016

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Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma), which has been labeled a toothless bulldog by its members particularly musicians, has made positive steps engaging stakeholders on the Copyright Act (2016).

The Copyright Act replaced the old Act which did not have enough firepower as regards protecting the works of artists.

The old Act had smaller penalties which saw pirates not feeling the pinch.

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Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) President, Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, said recently that the Copyright Act will help them minimise cases of piracy.

Musician Lucius Banda, popularly known as Soldier, also said that the Copyright Act would help curb piracy although he was quick to point out that Cosoma and other players have to work together.

With technology moving at a fast pace, the creative industry is experiencing rampant piracy, which has forced some artists to take a break releasing albums.

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But Cosoma, while admitting that it has a lot to do in terms of fighting piracy, said stakeholders, including members, have a part to play.

This is why Cosoma has come out to talk about the Copyright Act (2016) which, according to the body’s Senior Licensing Officer, Rosario Kamanga, has new provisions.

Kamanga said yesterday that they have managed to engage players such as the Judiciary, police and artists on the Copyright Act.

The copyright body yesterday met artists in Blantyre.

“We have just finished a meeting with the artists now (yesterday), we have also met the Judiciary and the police because all these have a role to play if we are to, among other things, minimise cases of piracy,” Kamanga said.

The meetings have seen Cosoma engaging the stakeholders in all the three regions.

“Through these meetings, we wanted the Judiciary, police and artists to take their positions. They have a role to play. The police and the Judiciary work hand in hand and, so, we want them to start working,” he said.

Kamanga also said that they met artists because they want them to be aware of the new provisions in the Copyright Act, which is operational.

“The response has been good, the stakeholders have to take up their role. The new law, for instance, empowers the Judiciary and police to do something and, through these meetings, we wanted to remind them of what they are supposed to do,” Kamanga said.

The Copyright Act, among other things, has provisions of stiffer penalties for pirates.

The Copyright Act also speaks volumes of copyright, transfer of copyright, infringement of copyright, permitted free uses of works, licences, expressions of folklore and copyright fund.

High Court judge Dingiswayo Madise challenged the police and magistrates last week to take a leading role in enforcing the Copyright Act, stating that the two offices are a missing link in curbing cases of piracy.

He told The Nation during a meeting Cosoma organised in Mzuzu that the two institutions should not wait for Cosoma to remind them of their duties.

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