The mission statement of the Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma), the body which was established by the Copyright Act of 1989, says that it “promotes and protect creative works in which copyright rights exist and to ensure that the owners of such works are adequately renumated.”
I don’t think COSOMA is protecting the copyright rights of local artists in the country if the increased cases of copyright infringement is anything to go by.
I will single out the recent case of two promising urban musicians Malceba and Saint in which they are being accused of stealing or re-producing Collins Mbandawe’s ‘Tchekela Maluzi’ without his consent, as a vivid example of COSOMA’s ineffectiveness.
I mean, why is COSOMA taking time to act in this straight forward issue? Does the copyright laws exist only on paper? May be yes.
Honestly, I am impressed with the birth of numerous talented artists who are making significant inroads in the country’s showbiz or entertainment industry. Their levels of talent have brought about a big change and breathed life into the seemingly dying industry. But one thing which displeases many is the act of “stealing” other people’s ideas or music.
This is rampant among urban musicians who are simply re-producing foreign music. It is disheartening to note that a good number of urban artists in Malawi are copycats. They have no slight idea on how music is created,
but to jump on already made popular songs.
Songs such as Adele’s ‘Hallo’, Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ and ‘Panda’ which is a debut single by American rapper Desiigner, are some of the songs that have been violated by Malawian artists. Other artists have also started translating music done by Nigerians or lifting ‘riddims’ by Jamaican artists.
Not only Hip hop or reggae by foreign artists have been abused in Malawi but also local hits done by legendary Malawian artists. For example, grooves, guitar strokes or lyrics of ‘Chinafuna Mbale’ by Lucky Stars have been infringed in one way or the other. The late reggae icon Evison Matafale’s music has also suffered a blow in one
way or the other.
But my question is: Who do you call yourself if all what you know is to steal other people’s art? Are you a musician or copycat? Malawian musicians, you can do better by being original. Create something you can call your own.
For COSOMA, it is high time you start walking your mission statement. Otherwise, you are just another crook who is good at blowing resources at advocating for the very policy change you fail to defend.