Wednesday, June 7, 2023

CIPA or ROCIP must reform and bite!

The year 2016 marks 10 years after the passing of the Copyright Act by Parliament. What do we have to show for that? Nothing, actually Zero!

ROCIP/CIPA has a bad history of bad management of the Copyright Act to the extent that artists are calling for the transfer of Copyright Act to the Office of the President. Since the passing of the Copyright Act we have seen the rise of Piracy in Botswana. There is no mall or gas station in Botswana without a Zimbabwean selling pirated CDs in CD pouches. What’s the use of having people earning salaries as Copyright Administrators and officers, while they serve zero purpose?

If you go to CIPA right now and ask what the Copyright Unit has done over the past three years you will be shocked! No workshops, no raids and not a single radio or television campaign. Officers there spend most of their time fighting for international trips where they earn huge dollars in per diems, instead of implementing the law locally. 10 years later we are sitting with more than P40million in the blank tape levy but no Anti-Piracy Strategy. What a shame! If we were to calculate how much has been spent the past 10 years fighting piracy against the spend on international trips or per diems some of the readers of this article will be hospitalized with stroke or shock! No wonder our President does not travel abroad because these UN summits are expensive but don’t improve the lives of Batswana and in this case musicians.

CIPA really needs to look at itself in a mirror and introspect. I had thought that after that shameful embarrassing International Intellectual Property Day Celebrations in Maun which was badly attended, it would have rung in their heads that artists are gatvol and see CIPA/ROCIP as a failure or enemy of the arts.

Artists are smart they have long made a religious decision to snub any institution that does not support them and not speak out for fear of being labelled rowdy. Look at COSBOTS. Artists have shunned it and left it to rust in the hands of CIPA because they see it as selfserving.

Since CIPA and ROCIP dismally failed to deal with the mismanagement at COSBOTS, musicians have stopped wasting their time with CIPA and most of them have snubbed the now useless Holograms. If you go around town most musicians have decided to sell their music without holograms because what is the purpose of having holograms when Zimbabweans are duplicating records with or without holograms? What’s the use of buying holograms from people who spend their time abroad and fail dismally to deal with burning local copyright matters?

In music they say “The real recognize real” hence my advice to CIPA/ROCIP is that things are falling apart and very soon there won’t be a need to have a Copyright Unit or Act because there will be nothing to protect!

Everything will be fake. In short it’s time for CIPA/ROCIP to wake up and smell the coffee because its Copyright Unit is a toothless dog as we speak!

Yours in Music Activism

Seabelo Modibe


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