FOR a long time, musicians and other artistes have bemoaned the loss of their hard-earned income through piracy by some unscrupulous people who reproduce and use their works without permission.
However, the pirated materials have seen their way back on the market.
The artistes and inventors have envied how their foreign counterparts are making it big in the music and film industries and had acclaimed the status that goes with being creative.
In 2010, Government amended the copyright and performance Rights Act to provide for the implementation of a hologram, which is a security feature to be affixed on all audio –visual products sold in Zambia.
Renowned comedian Bob Nkosha said during a stakeholder sensitisation meeting on hologram at Edinburgh Hotel in Kitwe that piracy had greatly affected the artistes.
Mr Nkosha said some people were reaping were they did not sow by reproducing and using other people’s works without their permission.
He said the film industry was non –existence in Zambia and that there were no big production on offer coming from popular film
industries such as the Hollywood.
Mr Nkosha, 43, started acting when he was six years old and unlike the legendary reggae artiste Robert Marley fondly known as Bob Marley, whose works were still being sold and his children and grandchildren benefiting way after his passing on, Zambian artistes had nothing to show off in terms of their works.
Mr Nkosha, however, has hope of benefitting from his creative works with the introduction of holograms and wished it was introduced years back to protect the rights of the artistes.
“Piracy has really affected the artistes and if hologram was introduced five years ago, the rights of the artistes would have been protected.
“The hologram will give producers the capability of employing more than 500 people and in turn contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Zambia,” he said.
Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba said Government had raised more than K143,824.50 from the time the hologram was launched to date, through the sale of 159,805 holograms.
Mr Mwamba, who paid glowing tribute to his predecessor Amos Malupenga for his initiative on implementing the hologram, said a sum of K15,980.50 had been collected for mechanical rights or royalties.
He said Government attaches great importance to the creative industry and the use of intellectual property as a whole.
“Creative industry provides employment to a lot of youths, thereby empowering them economically which is consistent with the Government’s agenda of putting more money in people’s pockets.
“However, this is undermined by piracy whereby some unscrupulous people rob the artistes of their hard-earned income by reaping where they did not sow as they reproduce and use other people’s works without their permission,” he said.
Mr Mwamba said piracy was an offence punishable by law and was one of the biggest threats to the economic development of Zambia because it had the tendency of killing innovation, deprives Government of the much-needed revenue for development and deprives artistes and inventors of their harde-earned income. He said the law would help law enforcement officers and the public at large to distinguish original audio and video products from pirated ones and pursuant to the copyright and performance rights Act number 25 of 2010. Mr Mwamba said Government, through the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting services, procured five million holograms and to expedite the hologram implementation process, Government constituted a taskforce with members drown from various stakeholders .
Government has also established a technical implementation committee whose objective is to advise the registrar of copyright in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services on the implementation process as stipulated in the Act.
Mr Mwamba said Government wanted to safeguard the interest of artistes and creators by effectively implementing the copyright and performance rights Act.
He said the accreditation process for buying holograms was underway and a total of 19 producers have since been accredited for purposes of purchasing the hologram.
“The hologram is meant to protect the physical CD or DVD from being pirated or counterfeited. The challenge, therefore, is the protection of works transmitted online such as the internet where the holograms cannot be affixed physically.
“I therefore, urge the registrar of copyright in consultation with stakeholders to find ways and means of protecting such works are transmitted one line.
Mr Mwamba stressed that the hologram was law and all the audio-visual products whether local or foreign, as long as they are for sale on the Zambian market are obliged to have the hologram affixed on them.
“In this regard, I wish to take this opportunity to inform producers, artistes and the general public that the grace period for works without a hologram comes to an end on October 31.
“No works without a hologram are expected on the market by November 1. This means that any audio-visual works without a hologram after October 31, will be considered to be pirated, and culprits will be prosecuted,” he said.
Mr Mwamba called on law enforcement officers to acquaint themselves with the law on holograms and rid the market of pirated products.
And spokesperson for the Taskforce on the implementation of the hologram Kinsley Nkonde said piracy had robbed the country of the much
needed revenue and that the creation of the hologram would provide data on how artists were selling their works.
Mr Nkonde said a lot of articles sold on the Zambian market were pirated and that there were no statistics that could attract an
investor in the music industry.
He said more than 450 officers around six provinces in the country had so far been trained to sensitize others on the enforcement of the law. However, James Chansa, a hawker has his own fears on the introduction of the hologram.
Mr Chansa says affixing a security feature on audio-visual materials would come with a price which would also force him to increase his goods which most of his customers might not afford to buy the goods because they were used at buying at a minimal fee.
It is imperative for audio and video compact discs to have a hologram to curb piracy and perhaps the artistic works and creativity would be safeguarded.
The introduction of holograms on copyright materials is a step to help restore the integrity of musicians and artistes who are losing out on sales as a result of piracy and this will surely increase the revenue collection for Zambia.