Musicians Union of Malawi hails court for convicting pirates

Written by  Joel Chiheni Phiri

The Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) has hailed the conviction of music pirates by Lilongwe Magistrate Court.

Rev. Chimwemwe Mhango, Chairperson, MUM Rev. Chimwemwe Mhango, Chairperson, MUM

Chairperson for the union, Rev Chimwemwe Mhango, said the recent conviction of two men in Lilongwe who were in the business of pirating musicians' works without permission has set a good precedence and as a deterrent to the rising culture of piracy in the country.

Mhango was commenting on a court ruling in Lilongwe where senior residence magistrate Montfort Misunje convicted two men; Isaac Donda and Bentry Mwaungulu for being found in possessions of machines for reproducing creative works without authorisation.

"For a long time we have waged war against piracy with little gains as people who burn musicians' CDs without permission have been on the increase. We, therefore, believe regardless of the sentence that will be meted on the two offenders by the magistrate it will set a precedence against people who want to pirate musicians' works", said Mhango in an interview on Friday.

Mhango said government has always been in the forefront against piracy by putting in place several legislations including the new Piracy Act to curb cases of piracy and he hoped the conviction of the two is a triumph in the fight against the vice.

"The conviction of the two has come fast on the back of our campaigns and efforts to fight piracy. Regardless of the outcome of the case, we believe whatever punishment the magistrate will mete out on the two, it will help control cases of piracy and everyone will be happy as musicians will now be able to make sales from their sweat and government will also be happy to see its citizens in the arts rejoice that they can make a career out of the music they produce,” added Rev.Mhango.

Apart from convicting the two jointly on reproducing creative works without authorisation, Magistrate Misunje also convicted Mwaungulu for reproducing copies of 400 music CDS without licence from the Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA).

Misunje convicted the two in line with Section 131, Subsection 4, Article 3 of the Copyright Infringement Act of 2016.

The master CDS of the country's celebrated artists such as Lucius Banda, Skeffa Chimoto and Black Missionaries are valued at K30 million, according to COSOMA.
According to Mhango, the case will be back in court on Monday for sentencing.

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