BY WINSTONE ANTONIO RECENTLY IN MUTARE
ZIMBABWE Music Rights Association (Zimura) says prevailing information gaps between stakeholders and the business community paused a challenge in carrying out its mandate.
A music composers and publishers association, Zimura was established in 1982 to protect the rights of musicians and publishers under the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act Chapter 26:05.
The protection of works of the mind such as literature, music and art is also provided for in the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act.
Zimura is affiliated to the Confederation of International Societies of Authors and Composers based in Paris, France and also registered with the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office under the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs ministry.
Addressing a stakeholders’ copyright awareness workshop last week at Courtauld Theatre in Mutare, Zimura executive director Polisile Ncube-Chimhini said she was optimistic their ongoing engagements will enlighten stakeholders on copyright law and intellectual property rights issues.
“As Zimura, we commend the synergies which exist with various stakeholders, including the police. We however, encounter challenges in carrying out our duties, which may be a result of the existing information gaps between stakeholders and the business community,” she said.
Some of the challenges include lack of due diligence on gathering enough evidence for successful prosecution in copyright cases.
“Important details are left out on charge sheet preparation, that is, the accused’s full name, identity numbers, nature and details of copyright infringement and its occurrence. (Section 59(2)(5) of the Copyright and Neighbouring rights Act Chapter 26:05 provides for offences and penalties in respect of infringement,” Ncube–Chimhini said.
“Ignorance of the copyright law especially Sections 17, 51 and 59 and failure to identify the persons responsible for the infringement is one major challenge, yet Section 51(5) of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act stipulates identification the persons responsible for the infringement.”
Ncube–Chimhini also revealed that some creators were infringing other people’s rights out of ignorance while others were doing so deliberately.
A lot of artists are said to be unaware of copyright laws and as a result, they are either prejudiced or unknowingly commit intellectual property crimes.
“In this high-tech, knowledge and information age, intellectual property assets are increasingly becoming our social life-style and are driving economies by impacting the way we run our businesses, produce and deliver services,” she said.
“Platforms like YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp can be taken advantage of by the creative industry to market, sell and distribute their products to a global audience. It is, however, critical for the creators or rights holders to know how these platforms work for and against them.”
Zimura’s copyright awareness workshops that have so far been held in Masvingo, Gweru, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Mutare are part of the association’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
Artistes across genres, the police, Judiciary, business community and opinion leaders are among those who have attended the workshops.
Apart from handling artistes’ royalties, Zimura also offers services such as funeral policy, gratuity fund, free legal assistance/and representation and free copyright education.
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