Malawi musicians yet to reap benefits from new copyright – Chimwemwe Mhango

Gospel musician, Chimwemwe Mhango has said  local musicians are yet to reap the rewards of the new copyright law which was passed in parliament in 2016.

Rev Chimwemwe Mhango:  Not much has changed

When the new law was passed, the musicians including big names, like Allan Nguyuma and Lucius Banda hailed the passing of the Bill.

They viewed the new law as a step in the right direction arguing artists, including musicians would be rewarded for their work through the new law which is strict on piracy.

A year after the bill became law, Mhango says not much has changed on the ground blaming lack of resources on MUM’s part to conduct civic education on the same urging government to step in and assist.

“Things haven’t changed much on the ground due to various facts one of which is civic education. As a union we don’t have enough resources for public sensitization and we rely on Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) to do more and it appears that while they are trying funds are still a challenge.

“We are thinking of approaching other organisations like National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) to assist,” he pleaded.

The plight of local musicians has been an issue that has been in the news for a long time.

At the centre of the debate is the fact that a handful of talented Malawian musicians have anything to show for their hard work and some even struggle to meet their daily basic needs in spite of being popular names in the music industry.

One such musician, Thomas Chibade, who was once a household name with his hit album, Mau Anga,  has in recent times been quoted in the media that he couldn’t not even afford a basic mobile phone and instead used his landlord’s phone in Mgona, Area 25 for communication with piracy playing a central role to his current sorry state.

Mhango was, however, encouraged by recent efforts by COSOMA and other stakeholders in trying to enforce the new law.

“I have somehow been impressed by impressed with the raids that are being conducted by COSOMA confiscating the materials and equipment’s used for pirating and according to the Act, they are not supposed to return it to the owners who are supposed to be jailed or pay a huge sums, but we are waiting for the cases to go to court.

“The introduction of levies on blank media devices and other equipment is another area worth applauding. I am aware that a workshop for magistrates on the same is being organized on the same with funding from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),” Mhango revealed.

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