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Shameful act of copying: Civic education needed—Cosoma

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Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) has said that it is shameful for musicians to copy other people’s works without getting consent.

This comes against the background of some musicians of late dropping singles which have been copied from works of other international acts.

Recent developments have seen some urban artists in the country copying songs from international artists by adopting the same beat and then just changing lyrics from English to Chichewa.

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One of the songs that have been copied is that of Nigeria’s Davido titled ‘If’ which is currently enjoying airplay in the country.

Mum President, Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, said this is a shameful act and that it needs to be stopped forthwith.

“I remember to have attended an international meeting where the issue of copyright was raised and among the examples given were songs from Malawi, with everything copied from the beat to the lyrics with nothing new from the artists. It was embarrassing,” Mhango said.

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He said that all musicians cannot be songwriters or composers.

“We have good songwriters and composers out there and musicians can buy songs from them. And if you have to copy, then you need to get consent,” Mhango said.

The Mum president said they have plans to meet DJs and other stakeholders to solve this problem.

Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) said musicians in the country need more civic education to avoid copyright infringements.

Cosoma’s Senior Licensing Officer, Rosario Kamanga, said this yesterday when asked what the institution was doing to monitor some musicians, who are copying other artists’ work.

Kamanga said musicians are free to do adaptations of a song or cover version, provided they get authorisation.

“You can do an adaptation of a song, cover version but you need to get authorisation,” he said.

Kamanga said this does not happen in the country, which is copyright infringement.

“When you do an adaptation, you need to pay a royalty for each copy you produce and it is actually a form of making money. But many do not know this,” he said.

On what Cosoma was doing to curb this malpractice, Kamanga said:

“This is wrong and for musicians it’s just a process of declaring the song so that the owner benefits through royalties. As Cosoma, we can even facilitate that process,” Kamanga said.

He admitted that there is a problem on the ground and that there was need for civic education for artists.

Recently fashion designer Lily Alfonso also came out to say that many artists in the country lack vital information on copyright, hence copying other people’s works.

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