Associations against COSOMA’s privatisation

Rights Holders Associations have condemned government’s move to privatise the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) profit –making entity, saying the move will work to the disadvantage of the associations.

The Associations are: Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA), Book Publishers Association of Malawi (BPAM), Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM), Photographers Association of Malawi (PHOTAMA), National Theatre Association of Malawi and the Visual Arts Association of Malawi (VAAM).

The Associations said a  privatised Cosoma will be prone to change of focus and inclination as it will driven by profit motives hence the enforcement of the copyright laws will suffer.

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“As far as we know Cosoma is not a burden to government because it does not rely on its subventions for its operations,” said Andrew Chisamba, a member of the Book Publishers Association of Malawi (BPAM).

Cosoma is a statutory body which aims at promoting creativity and protecting the rights of creators. Its functions include collecting and administering royalties to artists.

Recently the musicians, led by their central region colleagues, planned to seek an audience with President Bingu wa Mutharika to vomit on his face problems they face one of which is the non-remittance of royalties to COSOMA by the national broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).

At some point MBC owed COSOMA about K70 million in royalties but media reports this week indicated that the national broadcaster had finally paid about K45 million to COSOMA.

Artists are affiliated to COSOMA through their associations but some musicians are also individual affiliates.

Since it announced COSOMA’s privatisation, government has been conducting various consultative meetings with stakeholders and representatives of the artists from among others MAM, Journalists Union, Visual Artists, Malawi Writers Union and the National Theatre Association.

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