Speaking at a sensitisation seminar on Intellectual Property issues for policymakers in Lilongwe COSOMA’s Executive Director Dora Makwinja described piracy as a big challenge not only in Malawi but also in Africa and the world at large.
Makwinja noted that although COSOMA is a leading agent it requires concerted efforts from the artists, police and customs officials, judiciary to work together to combat piracy as it has negative effects on the country’s economy.
She said with digital technology it is also becoming difficult to deal with issues of piracy adding that the Copyright Bill is to be brought to parliament soon.
“We need also to revise the law because currently the Copyright Act cannot effectively deal with issues of piracy. So we have revised the Copyright Bill, Copyright Act and we now have the Copyright Bill which is expected to be tabled in Parliament,” Makwinja said.
She emphasized on the need to equip policy makers on issues of Intellectual Property rights as they are the ones who come up with policies for the development of the country.
She further said Intellectual Property encompasses music, drama or films but also involves issues of trademarks, patents and inventions.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Samuel Tembenu observed that if well managed and exploited, trademarks, patents designs that form the backbone of intellectual property have the potential to accelerate a country’s economic growth.
Tembenu noted that the well being of humanity rests on its capacity to develop new products in the fields of arts, technology and business enterprise.
He lamented over piracy which continues to haunt artist’s works and creations.
“Inspite of the sensitization we still have the infringements that’s what makes it more important for people to be told about the relevance of Intellectual Property and the need to protect those rights especially the inventors and innovators because if we don’t, the result is that those who invent and are innovative, will be discouraged that they are not ripping the benefits of their innovation,” observed Tembenu.
He said the presence of counterfeit and pirated products was of great concern in Malawi as it has led to loss of investment opportunities in the field of Intellectual Property.