Mbira musicians schooled on copyright

Henry Makombe adressing a copywright workshop in Victoria Falls recently

LOCAL mbira music artistes and groups gathered last week at the Zimbabwe College of Music in Harare for copyright awareness schooling, courtesy of the Zimbabwean Music Rights Association.

Zimura was established in 1982 to protect the rights of musicians and publishers under the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act Chapter 26:05.

A lot of artistes are said to be unaware of copyright laws and as a result, they are either prejudiced or unknowingly commit intellectual property crime.

Zimura is engaging stakeholders in the music industry to help clear misunderstandings and ignorance concerning copyright law and intellectual property rights as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations.

Addressing artistes at the workshop Zimura deputy director Henry Makombe urged mbira music composers to be registered with the association to enjoy their benefits.

“The Zimura has no precise owner, but rather it is meant for you the artistes. The organisation’s goal is to protect your music,” he said while also indicating that registering with Zimura does not, however, mean that artistes music is protected from copyrights, but allows them to get their royalties whenever their music is played.

Makombe noted: “As mbira music creators you should have some distinctive trademarks which can distinguish each musician or band from the others so that it becomes easy to distribute your royalties.

“We also advise artistes that whenever you are writing your music, you should not let anyone hear you when you are not yet ready to record because anyone can copy from there and that situation can be difficult to handle.

“Anyone who has composed a song is eligible for free registration with Zimura.

“We have individuals who walk around monitoring as well as licensing some individuals so that we can generate revenue which we can then use to pay you as your royalties,” he added.

Artistes who attended the workshop included Mbira Dzenharira, Gandamasungo, Vauki Vembira and Ninga Dzembira, among others.

Artistes applauded Zimura for organising the workshop which they described as valuable to their careers.

“This workshop came at a perfect time for those who had not yet joined Zimura, it was quite insightful to those who are yet to join the association to learn some crucial strategies in the production, marketing and distribution of their works,” Mbira Dzemharira’s Tatenda Gahamadze said.

“The workshop also enlightened us on the legal perspective regarding copyright law and the benefits of joining the association.”

Mapopoma Mbira Crew leader Rosemary “Mbuya Shumba” Mbofana said: “No doubt, the workshop has been of benefit and an eye opener to those who were not aware about copyright issues. In my view, Zimura has and is trying their best to protect and award artistes their well-deserved royalties.”

Artistes across genres, the police, Judiciary, business community and opinion leaders are among those targeted for the ongoing Zimura copyright awareness workshops.

As part of the workshops, Zimura will be going across the country’s 10 provinces and has so far been to Masvingo, Gweru, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Mutare.

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