Pirates Beware, regulatory bodies join forces to curb piracy in Zambia


WHILE the country was in the Red and Black mood of romance yesterday, Zambia’s creatives industry took the romance effort to tackle piracy and theft of creative works.

Yesterday stakeholders in the creative industries received a boost, as Partners Against Piracy (PAP) hosted a panel discussion titled “The Fight Against Piracy: The Role of Regulatory Bodies.”

The event, held in Lusaka, brought together key stakeholders including content creators, law enforcement officials, and regulatory bodies in a united front against intellectual property theft.

The PAP initiative, a collaborative effort by various organizations and stakeholders who seek to educate the public about the detrimental effects of piracy.

Bridget Chibwe Malumba, representing the National Association of Media Arts, raised concerns about creatives being exploited by distributors stealing their ideas.

Mwiche Chikungu, Assistant Director at the National Arts Council, encouraged artists to register their work with PACRA and pursue legal action against intellectual property theft.

Mirrias Siamutondo, representing over 8,000 artists through the Zambian Music Copyright Protection Society (ZAMCOPS), highlighted the evolving nature of piracy, now rampant in the digital space.

Siamutindo warned of unauthorized uploads depriving artists of their rightful earnings and urged stricter enforcement.

PACRA Copyright Administrator Kenneth Musamvu, stressed the need to update the Copyright and Performances Act.

Musamvu pointed out the act’s vulnerability in the face of technological advancements since its enactment in 1994.

“Previously we used to have CDs and now there is streaming. You find the act that we are using was enacted in 1994, so technology from 1994 to date has advanced,” he said. “That leaves the owners of the work vulnerable in the face of technology (advancement).”

Musamvu added that there are certain things that are done but the act is silent and law enforcers cannot do anything about it.

However, PACRA said they identified the lacunas and are working on them.

He revealed the green light from the cabinet to present a revised bill to parliament, ensuring better protection for intellectual property owners.

Kalumba Lumpa, the Head of Content Acquisitions at ZNBC, shared the broadcaster’s struggles with content piracy.

He emphasized their collaboration with ZAMCOPS to verify music authenticity before broadcast and a strict policy the company has to verify ensure originality of content.

Superintendent Mulolani Belinda, leading the Intellectual Property Unit of the Zambia Police Service, announced the nationwide rollout of dedicated units tackling intellectual property protection.

Acknowledging limited complaints logged, she emphasized the need for stakeholder collaboration and public awareness campaigns.

By Moses Makwaya

Kalemba February 14, 2024


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