Zimcos bogus — Govt

HARARE - Artists must be wary of the Zimbabwe Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (Zimcos) which claims to have the power to license music pirates on behalf of musicians, the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (Zipo) has said.

Zipo, which falls under the ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, told the Daily News yesterday that no organisation could lisense intellectual property matters without being registered with his ministry.

“The organisation you are referring to is operating outside the law and they are ripping people off. As far as this office is concerned, there are only two collecting societies which are officially registered,” said Fidelis Maredza, the Zipo Controller of Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Copyright and Neighbouring Rights.

“The Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) is the one that collects royalties on behalf of musicians while Zimbabwe Copyright (Zimcopy) is responsible for books and written works.”

The warning comes after the unregistered Zimcos told the Daily News that they were registering illegal CD vendors.

“We have licensed 150 vendors so far with the majority being in Mbare as it is the hub of illegal music pirates. Our aim is to ensure that musicians benefit from the booming sale of illegal CDs,” said Zimcos spokesperson Phil Zulu

“CD vendors are paying $15 per month while the ones that burn the CDs are charged $50 a month. We came up with this arrangement after noticing that artistes are not getting a single cent from the pirates so we decided to come up with such an organisation. We get copyrights from the artistes and then license the music pirates.”

Zimcos claims that over 125 artistes have handed over copyrights to them.

“The artistes signed with us include Dino Mudondo, Kireni Zulu, Obvious Mutani, Willom Tight, Energy Mutodi and Jacob Moyana,” said Phil, son of Marabi singer Kireni Zulu.

Some musicians that Zimcos claim are their members have, however, distanced themselves from the controversial organisation.

Mudondo said he had no contract with Zimcos.

“I only attended their meeting in November last year and they said they would get back to us with the way forward but they haven’t,” said the Rasta Kwasa singer.

“I did not sign anything with them. My only worry is transparency. If they are transparent it will help us as musicians as we will be able to benefit from our music.”

An angry Mutodi said Zimcos was an illegal organisation that should be brought to book.

“I did not sign anything with anyone. I only heard of them once, when Obvious Mutani came with a form for me to sign but I refused as I did not know what it was all about.

“But it is criminal to say the least because they want to license illegal activities. The laws of Zimbabwe do not support piracy.”

Zimura director Polisile Ncube has also hit out at the new organisation.

“These people are controversial. Piracy cannot be licensed. They want to help artistes but they are going about it the wrong way. If anyone wants to act as a collecting society, they have to be registered by the ministry of Justice through the Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (Zipo). Piracy is illegal, you cannot legalise something that is illegal.”

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