Local creatives gang up to tackle piracy

The panellists were Plot Mhako, Timothy Tapfumaneyi, Max Mugaba, Joe Njangu, Mono Mukundu, Diana Nheera,Vokal Godfrey Bakasa, John Sithole and representatives from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority

The National Arts Council in partnership with Multichoice Zimbabwe hosted a one-day workshop on intellectual property and anti-piracy. Part of the conversations were on the implications of piracy and how to overcome it.

The panellists were Plot Mhako, Timothy Tapfumaneyi, Max Mugaba, Joe Njangu, Mono Mukundu, Diana Nheera,Vokal Godfrey Bakasa, John Sithole and representatives from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority

Permanent secretary in the Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture ministry Nicholas Moyo said stakeholders must all introspect and come to grips with the causes of piracy in the country.

“Other private sector players are, therefore, encouraged to emulate Multichoice Zimbabwe through escalating public-private partnership in the war against piracy,” Moyo said.

Mhako said there was a need to market creatives and it’s a collective responsibility to reach that point.

“I take a leaf from what Nigerians did, remember the Nigerians introduced African movies and we were getting those discs at a dollar for two and they developed a system that would ensure that they can actually sell in big numbers,” he said.

“They would produce them in real time, they were consistent in making their movies, they developed a process that allowed them to monetise their product at home and around the world. "What this took was Nigerians believing in themselves so much that the rest of the world had no choice, but to actually start getting interested in what Nigerians were producing.

“This is the missing link in Zimbabwe, it’s an issue that we do not believe in our own art forms to the extent that we do not see the need to pay to attend a movie or buying a song, we think we are doing them a favour.

“I think it’s beyond what can be done by an individual institution, but more to do with how we are going to change the mindset of a Zimbabwean to appreciate their own artiste.

“If we do that we are going to become more successful globally. The world will even get excited in our own art and it will also improve the quality of their content because they are making money.”

Nheera said creating alternative platforms where people can share content or their work legitimately was the way to go.

“We have to make channels where people can consume content in a legal way that can be paid for,” she said.

“Back in the day there were cassettes and CDs; the people that made those had technologies that could actually lock someone from replicating their work which was a right protection.”

Bakasa bemoaned piracy, particularly in high-density suburbs such as Mbare where he said it was too rampant.

“Mbare is one of the biggest consumers of urban music and it is so sad that the consumers do not pay for the music although they attend the shows,” he said.

“So it comes to how do they get the channels and how do they get the music and pay for it?

“You find that most of them have mobile phones and they have streaming apps like iTunes, but they resort to paying iTunes so that they can download music from outside Zimbabwe, but for our local music they would rather use ShareIt and other sharing devices.

“My own contribution is that we have to engage banks and mobile network providers as they are the number one providers of internet and monetary exchange so that they create applications that are user-friendly for those people who are in the high-density suburbs so that they can buy the music.”

Mugaba said artistes do not have a complete value chain and artiste need to work with knowledgeable people.

“We start by having passion, and when we get to a certain threshold we are no longer comfortable giving people our work for free, but our fans are used to us just giving them, so as an artist there is need to plan before one has a career,” Mugaba said.

“Having a road map that I am going to release music to such a market and after a certain time it is going to be paid for, eg I am selling my album for $5 now, but my next album which is coming out is going to cost this much; fans have to change their mind-set.

“For us to reshape the consumers’ mind we need to start educating them.”

According to Cyber News, in the United States piracy costs the television and film industry about $29 billion and $71 billion annually.

This is because of the impact of illegal sports live streaming, which brings the total cost to a staggering $229 billion.

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