Local rumba guitarist, Alfredo Mosimanegape, had an altercation with a certain Chinese storeowner, in Mogoditshane, whom he declares to have found selling his (Alfredo?s) counterfeit DVDs at P25 a-piece.
The DVDs are sold for P45 at wholesale prices and P70 at retail price.
?I had been called by a friend enquiring about the low price of the DVDs on sale. In the store, there were Franco, Culture Spears, Mokorwana, Shirley and my DVDs on sale,? Alfredo told The Sunday Standard. ?We promptly reported the case to the police, and the suspect was detained for the evening.?
But an unfortunate course of events would dishearten Mosimanegape. ?On writing the statement, a police officer erroneously stated that the offender had been selling stolen goods rather that pirated goods,? charged Mosimanegape.
Alfredo told The Sunday Standard that when a police search was conducted later no bootleg DVDs could be found. There is an underground network between the traders, Alfredo reveals. ?When an arrest is made, the merchandise in question always disappears.?
The DVDs, if found, and the case reported correctly the businessman would have been charged under a 1965 Act. The DVDs would be tallied up and a compensation of P4 per unit would be paid to Alfredo and his fellow musicians.
The case of a Chinese storeowner selling ?stolen goods? was tried in the Mogodisthane Customary court. The penalty was a P100 fine or 3 months imprisonment upon failing to pay in 7 days.
A senior officer at Mogoditshane Police Station, who would not give his name, verified that the case had indeed been reported at his station. He, however, contested Mosimanegape?s allegation that the police statement was taken erroneously.
?The report was taken verbatim, as far as we are concerned,? he said.
Nkgopolang Tlhomelang, a member of the Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) committee said, ?Previously local artists have been able to make album sales of well over P10 000.
?Until the amended copyrights act is instated, musicians and others who deal in intellectual property have no leg to stand on.?