Damara Punch artist Stanley Benson, popularly known as Pule said individuals caught and seen distributing musical content which hasn’t been officially released to the public by the owners should be severely punished and made exemplary of since they are taking bread out of people’s mouths.
Pule made these remarks when he was made aware that his yet to be released album Sa / nami /guip and that of fellow Ma/Gaisa artist Stanley Hamaseb, also known as Ou-Stakes was being illegally distributed on various WhatsApp groups.
Pule said Sa /nami /guip is bound to be his 10th studio album. “People who pirate music have to be punished. Artists are not working and this is our means of survival, we didn’t even get the Emergency Income Grant (EIG) from the government, we are struggling with music and now people are coming from behind and pirating our music. They have to be punished so that those who are planning on doing the same will know the repercussions thereof,” said the Ma/Gaisa musician.
Pule said: “There is a group of Damara Punch Lovers on WhatsApp, it came to my attention that the group is to promote Damara Punch music but this time around our music was promoted in the wrong way. This perpetrator first loaded Ou Stakes album on the group, the whole album. Another artist’s album was also loaded who I can’t remember.”
He informed Entertainment Now! This week he will open a case against a certain Ou Ble who is allegedly responsible for loading the music without permission at Walvis Bay Police Station. Although music piracy is all over the country, three years ago, New Era also did a story on it being rife at the coast.
He said he has no idea who Ou Ble is and how the music landed in the wrong hands but it could have been from someone he (Pule) sent the music to for whatever reason.
“Our albums are not selling anymore because of this type of piracy, we are paying a lot of money to have songs produced and released, we are paying for the graphics, everything including printing CDs and people are now just sitting around distributing music illegally as they please,” he fumed.
Ou Stakes who is battling Covid-19 and has been discharged from the hospital told this reporter he has spent a lot of money to release his ninth album, from the CDs and taking them to South Africa for printing to graphics, only to find out his work has been leaked on a WhatsApp group.
“There are a lot of people on these music WhatsApp groups, once something is sent, it gets re-shared or forwarded. The police, Nascam and whoever is involved should do something because these guys are taking bread out of our mouths. We must start making cases against these guys,” shared Ou Stakes, sounding energetic yet frustrated.
Nascam CEO John Max said the organisation has worked hard regarding piracy to eliminate massive copyright infringement activities, which have been happening here for years, and they are trying new ways on how to handle the situation.
“The current piracy has become digital. The available communication platforms are now the ones increasing piracy like WhatsApp,” said Max referring to a call he got from Pule narrating the ordeal of the illegal distribution of his album.
Max added: “Those are the challenges we are currently facing, we don’t have clear regulations regarding directives as to how one should post a song to any platform.”
Max is ecstatic that Bipa is currently reviewing the copyright bill that will contain those kinds of measures and penalties. “I am happy that the penalties have moved up from the current copyright act punishment. Currently, the fee for violation is N$12 000- N$20 000 or three to four years imprisonment but the ones being drafted ranges from N$50 000-N$100 000 and with this, networks like Telecom will be facilitating the process,” stated Max. “We are urging musicians to register with Nascam and ensure that every song they release is also registered for them to get their royalties. We encourage them to create good music and look for other ways to make money. For the corporates, always remunerate an artist even if they have had a small engagement,” concluded Max.
Entertainment Now! tried to get hold of the alleged perpetrator (name withheld) but was informed that he kept on changing numbers and tracing him proved futile.