Copyright society of Malawi (COSOMA) Inspectors on Thursday, went on a raid across 5 areas in Lilongwe to confiscate equipment used in the reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works without a license, which is contrary to section 113 of the Copyright Act of 2016.
COSOMA having signed a memorandum of agreement with the Malawi police last year in April, to have 2 police officers seconded to its offices in the northern, southern and central region respectively, has been working tirelessly on a battle against piracy. This has led to intensified raids across the country with all sorts of machinery being seized only to be released after a minimum payment of k35, 000 and also a fine of k5, 000
Commenting on the issue, the Executive Director and Copyright Administrator, Mrs. Dora Makwinja said the deal with the Malawi police will go a long way in enforcing the Copyright Law.“It is due time we dealt away with issues of copyright infringement. We have put in place all measures, and now that we have policemen seconded to our offices and intensified the raids, pirates in Malawi can as well say goodbye because we are not having any more breaks. It is our mandate to promote and protect the rights of our stakeholders and we are more than geared to work on their behalf”, she said.
In his remarks, the Assistant Licensing Officer, Mr. Thomas Chirambo said on the ground, most people know about the need for operating in such businesses with a COSOMA license, but the rate of compliance has been very low.“People do not have to wait until we confiscate their equipment, all they have to do is come to our offices, apply for a license and once they pay the sum of k45, 000 they are good to go.
The duration for a license is 12 months. Yesterday, we were in Mtandire, Area 50, Kumboni, Mchezi, area 49 Proper, and Dubai and we confiscated machinery used in photocopying, printing and burning CDs. Last week we were in Kasungu. We are on the move every week until copyright infringement is completely wiped out”, he said.Meanwhile, COSOMA inspectors in the Southern and Northern region are also dealing with copyright infringers.