The Senior Chief Resident Magistrate Court sitting at Mkukula in Lumbadzi, Dowa has sentenced a 45-year-old man Chikumbutso Jamu a fine of six hundred thousand kwacha in default of 24 months’ imprisonment for the offences of being found in possession of machinery used to duplicate copies of artist work and being found in possession of infringed copies all contrary to section 113 of Copyright Act.

“The court through the state prosecutor, Bod Msukwa heard that on February 28th, 2021, COSOMA inspectors were tipped anonymously that the convict was in possession of machinery used for duplicating copies of artists work without a licence.

After conducting a raid at the suspects house, the Inspectors found 2000 Master CDs and 68 other CDs, 2 Duplicating Machines, 1 Canon Printer, 1 Prixma Printer, 1 Acer Laptop, 1 Sabara Laptop and 10 DVD Writers which Jamu used in carrying out the crime.

Msukwa asked the court to give him a stiff punishment in order to deter other would be offenders,

Saying it affects the real owners of art as they do not profit anything while the illegal producers make more copies and benefit from it, thereby reaping where they did not sow.” COSOMA Spokesperson Ettah Kamanga narrated

Appearing before the court, Jamu pleaded guilty to the charges and asked for the court to be lenient with him since he was a first time offender.

In her judgement, Senior Chief Resident Magistrate Cecilia Onsewa fined him three hundred thousand kwacha for the first count and a further three hundred thousand kwacha for the second offence in default to 24 months’ imprisonment. She ordered that the CDs be burnt, the 2 laptops and 2000 master copies be donated to the Malawi Government while the duplicating machinery and DVD writer given back to the Jamu upon producing a licence.

The Copyright Act of Malawi in section 113 (6) conditions that 75% of the fines shall be paid to Copyright Fund which is then disimbursed to the artists as a compensation to victims of the offence.

Section 113 (b)states that any person found in possession of any machinery, or other device with the intention of using such device to produce infringing copies commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine of 10million kwacha and to imprisonment for four years and in the case of continuing offence to a further fine of k50,000 for each day during which the offence continues.

According to the Licensing Manager, Mr Mutty Mukhondiya, this was just the beginning as more culprits will be brought to book.

“We have put in place mechanisms to catch these pirates and we will not rest untill all the producers of copyright works have a licence to do so”.

Jambo who hails from Kadzakalowa Village in the area of Traditional Authority Njolomole in Ntcheu District has since paid the fine and is in the process of getting a license.

Ettah Kamanga,

COSOMA Spokesperson.

 

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