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Cosoma, police meet over piracy

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In an effort aimed at fighting piracy and other ills robbing the creative industry of its fruits, Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) and Malawi Police Service have been engaged in a review meeting in Salima District.

The meeting started on Monday and is expected to end today.

The copyright body has attracted the wrath of artists over the years for its failure to minimise cases of piracy, which continue to deny artists income from their artistry.

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Recently musician Patience Namadingo also took Cosoma to task over its failure to utilise technology in its business of collecting royalties for artists.

However, Cosoma Executive Director Dora Makwinja said recently that, despite facing challenges due to Covid, they have made progress on a number of projects including developing software for tracking music to complement other systems.

The body has recently also rewarded artists through the Blank Media Levy.

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In its drive to fight piracy, Cosoma has been working hand in hand with Malawi Police Service to enforce copyright laws.

Cosoma has since hailed the positive results it is yielding following the attachment of police officers to its three regional offices.

The copyright body and police have been working together since January.

Cosoma Licencing Manager Mutty Munkhondia said that artists have been complaining all along that they were being robbed of their economic and moral rights, contravening Section 29 and 30 of the Copyright Act of 2016.

It is from this outcry that the copyright body decided to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malawi Police Service on the need to attach six officers to Cosoma to help with enforcement of the Copyright Act of 2016.

“We are on the right track as we have greatly improved our revenue collection. Many copyright users are now voluntarily complying and, recently, we distributed royalties to musicians,” Munkhondia said.

He also said that they have successfully prosecuted offenders through the courts.

Munkhondia also said they have made progress in the reprographic licence renewal by schools.

Cosoma has also been vibrant reaching out to softcopy operators to renew their licences and defaulters have had their gadgets confiscated for operating without licences.

The review meeting has attracted six police officers and Cosoma regional heads to map the way forward on some of the challenges as well as look at the partnership as well as how to improve it.

Representing police officers, Steve Kumalonje said they would leave no stone unturned in the enforcement of the copyright law.

Cosoma is a statutory body established in 1994 by an Act of Parliament and its mandate comes under Section four of the Copyright Act of 2016.

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