By Sapulain Chitonde Lee:
In its continued effort to protect and promote economic rights of artists, Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) is refusing to let pirates walk free while enjoying other people’s artistic rights illegally.
Due to continued non-compliance of the Copyright Law by some business operators, Copyright Inspectors recently embarked on a sweeping exercise in Lilongwe City and Mchinji Boma where most counterfeit copies of other people’s artistic works are being produced, distributed and sold.
So far the sweeping operations which started on 22 September 2021 have covered Kazingatchire , Santhe, Kochilila, Kapiri, Kamwendo, Mchinji Boma and Namitete Trading centers. In Lilongwe city, the operation has covered Kaliyeka, Kawale, Area 24, Midland, and Kawuma. Among other notable businesses which have been affected for not complying include some bars and Restaurants along Chilambula Road.
Speaking in an interview, Thomas Chirambo (Licensing Officer responsible for Central region) has vowed not to retreat until all noncompliant customers learn to respect the Copyright Law.
“The pirates are infringing reproduction and distribution rights of authors in their businesses. Commonly used equipment for infringing copyright are computers, photocopiers, Scanner printers, Memory cards, Flash disks and many other equipment. Owners of the confiscated equipment will shortly be taken to court to answer charges of Copyright infringement. Members of the general public are therefore encouraged to check with COSOMA before starting such businesses. Obtaining a license first is the requirement. The activity is an ongoing thing,” Chirambo said.
The infringement contravenes the economic right of authors under section 29 of the Copyright Act, 2016.
Bars owners, lodge owners and mobile disco operators also fall in the same category for public performance and are required to have a public performance license from COSOMA.