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Poets cry foul

NYAMALIKITI—There are 14 bonafide associations that are rightsholders for Cosoma

Poetry Association of Malawi (Pam) has cried foul over the way Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) works by focusing more of its attention on music and sidelining other art disciplines.

The move also follows Cosoma’s delay in accommodating poets to start benefitting from their sweat through various channels of royalties including blank media levy.

Pama President Chisomo Mdalla, popularly known as Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa, wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday: “Copyright Society of Malawi, you can replace Malawi with music”.

Several players have commented on this with renowned singer and guitarist Erik Paliani saying Cosoma must be the musicians’ body.

“Musicians, writers, actors etc must have their own bodies,” Paliani said.

Tobias Kumwenda, who has also been on the forefront promoting the country’s tourism, claimed that Cosoma stands for musicians.

“They have no business to do with other art disciplines,” Kumwenda said.

Mdalla said they have been pushing Cosoma but nothing fruitful has come out up to now.

“We are failing to discuss with players about this because we do not have full understanding as to why we do not benefit as regards royalties. We have been told now and again that they do not have a collective mechanism on how to collect data. This needs to be sorted out,” he said.

On blank media levy whose proceeds Cosoma has just distributed to musicians and filmmakers, Mdalla said Cosoma needs to revisit its disbursement policy.

“Disbursement of blank media levy should be a picture of the whole industry and should not use the same system done on broadcasting royalties,” he said.

Mdalla said the approach should be on production and money used based on this.

“There are 14 bonafide associations that are rightsholders of Cosoma. The question I am asking is who do they stand for? You even look at meetings where musicians have their own meeting and the rest of the others have to do their own. This needs to be addressed and the ground needs to be levelled,” he said.

Cosoma Head of Documentation and Distribution Shadrick Kumtengo said yesterday the copyright body would be meeting Pam to sort out the issues including that of royalties.

“There have been engagements with them on technical issues and so Cosoma will be meeting their association leadership,” Kumtengo said.

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