Malawi music pirates convicted, fined K20,000

The First Grade Magistrate Court in Mzuzu has fined seven music pirates MK20,000 each or in default serve a four month jail term.

Police in Mzuzu in conjunction with an Assistant Licensing Officer Dick Kachipande from the Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) arrested the seven ‘businessmen’ within the city at various places.

Police also confiscated seven computer sets, which they believe the music pirates were using to reproduce various art works for gain.

The seven faced three counts of being found in possession of machinery or device with intention to reproduce infringing copies of work, contrary to section 48(4) of copyright Act 1989, being found in possession of infringed copy of work contrary to section 48(5) as read with section 48(1) of the copyright Act 1989 and Transferring of sound recordings without licence or authorization contrary to section 47 as read with section 48(1) of the copyright act, 1989justice

Police Prosecutor Caphus Chiumia asked the court for a deterrent sentence arguing that is one of the ways to protect intellectual property.

Chiumia bemoaned the increase of Music Pirates in the city, saying it is sad development because real owners were not benefiting from their talents.

However, in mitigation, the convicts pleaded for leniency blaming ignorance of the law.

First Grade Magistrate Brian Msiska concurred with the state that real owners were not benefiting from their sweat and that Music Pirates were fueling the tendency of stealing other people’s talents.

Msiska then slapped a fine of K20,000 each or in default serve a four 4 imprisonment with hard labor.

He further ordered that the forfeiture for the seven computers to the government of Malawi and that the confiscated discs and infringed copies should be destroyed.

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