Vendors in Gaborone selling pirated material from local artists will soon come face to face with law enforcement agencies as an ongoing campaign to cease the transgression continues.
Botswana Criminal Justice Association (BOCRIJA) board member Lerunne Moremi informed The Midweek Sun that the operation, which started in 2017, is sponsored by Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA).
He said Phase 1 of the project was in Selibe-Phikwe and Kasane last year and that Kanye and Gaborone are in Phase 2 of the exercise. In December, Phase 2 began in earnest as BOCRIJA partnered with Botswana Police Service, District Law Enforcement and Kanye creatives to collect pirated CDs and DVDs from individuals and companies selling them in the village.
The campaign started from Sejelo Police to Choppies BG Mall. Phase 3 will be undertaken in Maun and Gantsi later this year. “Our artistes are suffering because some people out there copy their works and sell them. We are shocked that even some big retailer brands buy and sell pirated music,” he said.
Piracy is defined as illegally reproducing any copyrighted work. It refers to copying, distributing, selling, and lending of the works without the permission of the owner. Botswana has a robust Copyright Law which aims to combat any sort of copyright infringement.
The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, which is administered by CIPA protects such works as literary and artistic works, dramatic works, musical works, audio-visual works, architecture, photography, paintings and sculptures. Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation, and no registration is required. However, CIPA encourages creators of works to deposit a sample of the work with them in order to create evidence of ownership.
In the case of audio-visuals and sound recordings, the Copyright Act states that before they are sold they must have a security device (hologram) affixed to them. Holograms are sold at CIPA for P0.30 each, and provide a means of distinguishing between pirated and non-pirated works.
Copyright infringement attracts penalties of up to P20, 000 or 10 years in prison, or both upon conviction, depending on the severity of the case.The owners of the works being infringed are also allowed by law to take civil action against the perpetrators in order to claim back lost revenue.
Meanwhile, BOCRIJA executive director Ronald Ntebela said that the NGO which started in 2013, fights all forms of injustice such as alcohol and drug abuse, human trafficking, among many others. He said that they were going to embark on another operation called ‘Mopagamibua’ under which they will be asking passengers to speak about their trips. “Majority of fatalities are passengers and sometimes you’ll realise that someone dies because the driver was drinking and driving or over-speeding,” he said.