Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) has called on the general public to resist from buying pirated film CDs/DVDs saying such malpractices were reaping artists. The copyright body made the call ahead of the World Intellectual Property Day which is observed annually on 26th April which is this Saturday and this year is under the theme Movies – A Global Passion. “We would like to take this opportunity on this special day to call on the public to avoid buying pirated film productions. Piracy has calamitous impact on national economies including loss of employment, loss of revenue by the government through non-payment of taxes,” says Cosoma.
The copyright body added that piracy has still remained a challenge for both the film makers and them despite instituting various measures to contain the problem albeit minimal resources.
“With the focus this year being on movies, the industry just like any other creative industry has been faced with challenges including piracy. The problem of piracy has been further compounded by the advent of the digital technology,” says Cosoma.
The body said they were joining the rest of the world to commemorate the World Intellectual Property Day and that people should remember that movies are many things to many people.
“They inspire, entertain, and create an opportunity for us to ponder issues. We laugh, we cry, we get outrage and sometimes we reach a new understanding of the world around us through movies. These are some of the things that make movies important to us,” says Cosoma.
Cosoma’s Acting Executive Director Dora Makwinja said although the film industry in the country is still in infancy stage, the industry is proving to become one of the successful industries.
“If given the necessary support with proper investment in film production, the industry has the potential to stimulate economic growth in Malawi,” said Makwinja.
She hailed some organisations such as Royal Norwegian Embassy through the Cultural Support Scheme project, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and United Sates Embassy for contributing immensely to the growth of the film industry in Malawi.
Makwinja observed that there is still need to do more so that Malawi will in the near future have its own well-known film industry such as the Nollywood, Bollywood and Hollywood. The country has come out brightly with filmmakers like Shemu Joyah excelling with his movies Seasons of a Life and The Last Fishing Boat which was named among the Best 2013 Africa movies.
There are also movies which have come out recently among them Dikamawoko and BoNGO movie B’ella which is set to be premiered this Saturday at Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
Makwinja said movies or films are granted protection as copyright works under the Copyright Act, 1989 which is implemented by Cosoma.
“Movies are a direct product of creativity. For a movie to be made, it involves a number of players including the author or screenwriter, the actors, and music whose composers have copyright protection. Many players contribute to creating a film to enabling us to watch and enjoy it,” explained the Cosoma Acting Executive Director.
The World Intellectual Property was established by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Wipo) in 2000 in order to further promote the awareness of intellectual property protection, expand the influence of intellectual property protection across the world, urge countries to publicise and popularise intellectual property protection laws and regulations.
According to Makwinja, April 26th was chosen as the date for World Intellectual Property Day because it coincides with the date on which the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organisation entered into force in 1970.