$1m pirated discs destroyed

HARARE - In a big step to up the tempo against piracy, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) burnt pirated discs worth nearly a million dollars confiscated from the streets.

Macheso was among musicians who converged at Harare Central police station on Friday to witness the burning of pirated discs.

Zimbabwe Union of Musicians patron minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu and Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) director Polisile Ncube were also among authorities who witnessed the pirated CDs turn to ashes.

Polisile expressed optimism that they are going to win the piracy war.

“This is another positive step against piracy, as Rome was not build in one day,” said Ncube.

 Police also announced their plans to intensify operations against music pirates.

The failure of recording studios officials to attend the event angered musicians.

“If we are seriously working together we will win this war, but surprisingly officials from different recording studios are not present,” said Kireni Zulu.

Macheso said recording studios officials’ no show left a lot of questions unanswered.

Members of the Zimbabwe Association of Recording Industries (Zari) were absent from the ceremony.

“We are not sure whether we are still fighting together or they are not serious about it,” said the Chikwambo singer.

In a previous interview with the Daily News on Sunday Dickson Nhema of Music and Visual Anti-piracy Organisation of Zimbabwe described pirates as killers of the once-flourishing industry.

“Pirates are as bad as thieves, they steal from artistes, causing them to starve and deprive the government of tax,” said Nhema.

Local and international pornography, music and film discs — all constituted the material destroyed last week.

Those found on the wrong side of the law are expected to serve a jail sentence of not more than two years.

“A person guilty of an offence shall be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years...” Reads part of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (Chapter 26:05).

However, a number of local artistes have lost confidence in the anti-piracy campaigns.

The National Arts Merit Award winning actress cum singer Edith WeUtonga said she is tired of raids and anti-piracy campaigns.

“The culprits will be raided today and tomorrow they will be free doing the same — pirating and selling our music. There are no stiffer penalties for perpetrators here in Zimbabwe that is why it is proving difficult to end the problem,” said WeUtonga in a previous interview with the Daily News on Sunday.

The female bassist said piracy will be taken into consideration when the nation starts taking artistes seriously.

Sam Manjalima young brother and manager of  Freddy “Kapfupi” Manjalima of the Orchestra Ndoozvo band was of the same notion.

“We are happy that they are trying but because we do not have a serious organisation standing for musicians in the country, the problem is still far from ending,” said Manjalima.

Early this year Zimura lashed at what it described as bogus anti-piracy organisations operating in the country for fanning the problem.

Zimura urged the police to ignore calls by the Anti-Piracy Organisation of Zimbabwe to lobby for the selective application of the copyright act in the country.

$1m pirated discs burntPart of the pirated discs that were confiscated during the anti-piracy drive. - Vasco Chaya and Kaleen Gombera

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