By Sapulain Chitonde Lee:
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi on Wednesday launched the Malawi Digital Archive Project spearheaded by Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) at Golden Peacock in Lilongwe.
The copyright body secured funding from Sound Connects Fund (SCF) to establish the Malawi Digital Archive.
The Malawi Digital Archive Project will among other things encourage artists to participate in storing their works for the next generation as well as improve the quality of their products.
Usi hailed Cosoma for the project and described it as vital in uplifting the creative sector in the country.
He said the country has immense talent and that its works needed to be well documented.
“There is so much that the country has. Our artists need to be competing with artists from outside. Let us export our talent,” Usi said.
He said as government, they will support the industry for the betterment of the creative sector.
“This is all for the better life of an artist, who is working very hard in producing all what we are enjoying now,” the minister said.
In her remarks Cosoma Executive Director Dora Makwinja said the copyright body will digitize all registered works.
“This will protect all works from all unforeseen circumstances which may include natural disasters and other accidents. Cosoma considers the Malawi Digital Archive Project as a milestone in as far as promotion and protection of artistic work while maximizing the royalty distribution,” Makwinja said.
Cosoma Vice Board Chairperson Ezaius Mkandawire said the copyright body is looking at preserving copyright works domiciled at the society.
“The society since 1992 had been keeping members’ documentation records in their physical formats. This was not the best scenario as the records are prone to damage from manmade or natural disasters,” Mkandawire said.
He said the society as a progressive institution has been following global trends and as such it has been observed that most of the copyright works are kept in formats that are currently obsolete and these include audio tapes, CDs, VCDs, DVDs and books.
“We are hopeful that copies in their digital formats will enhance accessibility as well as facilitate e-commerce and this will in-turn improve the livelihoods of the creators in the creative sector,” Mkandawire said.
He also said the move will encourage artists in the country to embrace technology as it is the present and the future.
E-Government’s Director Patrick Machika commended Cosoma for the project saying Malawi needs to up its game to be at par with the world as far as the digital world is concerned.
Machika said many countries already migrated to the digital archive.
There were presentations and performances during the launch which attracted different players in the creative sector.
Renowned rapper Phyzix was one of the artists, who patronised the launch and made a presentation on digital world.