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Respect works of artists, says Cosoma

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Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) has said it is high time that the country took time to respect the works of artists by refraining from buying pirated materials.

The copyright body’s licensing manager Mutty Mukhondia said buying pirated materials denies the owners the much needed income.

He said it is in this vein that Cosoma wants to tighten the screws and seal all the loopholes as regards piracy and make sure that artists benefit from their sweat.

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Mukhondia said copyright protection gives authors, artists and creators incentives in the form of recognition and fair economic rewards, which increase their output.

“We need to respect copyright works and know that creators spend time to produce these works and, as such, they deserve a reward. Rewarding them means motivating them to come up with more creations which will in turn increase access to and enhance the enjoyment of culture, knowledge and entertainment all over the world,” he said.

Cosoma Public Relations Officer Ettah Kamanga said they were happy with the progress they have made as regards fighting piracy, indicating that they have made raids into some areas and confiscated computers and other items.

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“We carried out these raids which will continue in a bid to foster human creativity and innovation by curbing behaviours of reproduction, duplication and selling of other people’s artistic works without permission which is in line with Section 113 of Cosoma’s Act of 2016,” Kamanga said.

She said, last Wednesday, Ndirande Police in Blantyre arrested four people for the offence of being found in possession of pirated copies of CDs without authorisation and offering for sale for business purposes.

In a related development, Cosoma inspectors also undertook a mini operation on copyright infringers in Lilongwe, which saw computers and other items being seized in 11 markets.

As per Cosoma Act of 2016, the offence of copyright attracts a maximum penalty of K5 million or in default two years imprisonment with hard labour.

Artists have lately hit at the copyright body for failing to stamp its authority to protect their works.

Last year, the copyright body engaged softcopy operators urging them to get licences for their services, saying those operating without licences would face the arm of the law.

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