INFORMATION and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Forrie Tembo has said Government is drafting a circular to compel owners of photocopying machines to get a licence before operating them.
The move is aimed at reducing exploitation copyright work where machine operators have been making profit on protected works.
Mr Tembo said the Government was concerned with the rampant abuse of copyright through illegal reproduction of literary and artistic works.
“Illegal reproduction such as photocopying and other modes of reproduction should not be allowed as they deprive authors and publishers of their income,” Mr Tembo said.
His ministry was ready to support Zambia Reprographic Rights Society (ZARRSO) the organisation mandated to collect royalties in the areas of the reprographics.
He said when he officiated at the 1st ZARRSO annual general meeting in Lusaka yesterday that the Government wanted to ensure that there was fair balance between the interests of authors or right holders and the users of copyrighted works.
Mr Tembo said the licences would strike a balance as users would have access to legitimate work while right holders would be remunerated for their creativity.
He also warned that any one found reproducing another person’s work without the consent of the owner must be punished.
“There is need to protect the book and publishing industry so that more authors could be encouraged to write books and other literature which contribute to Zambia having a lot of local content and become a means of preserving our culture,” he said.
He called on institutions of learning, shop owners and other institutions that engaged in the reproduction of copyrighted works in Zambia to respect the copyright law by obtaining reproduction licenses.
It was important that means of protecting literary and artistic works from illegal reproduction are devised in the same manner Government had done for the audio-visual works through hologram.
The Government looked up to societies in the region who had advanced in the area of the reprography to assist those that were learning.
He said although the Act had weaknesses which need to be addressed to enable authors benefit from their copyright works, it was not an excuse for people to break the law.
Times of Zambia