• February 18th, 2020

NASCAM wins copyright case against a local trader

WINDHOEK- The Namibian Society of Composer and Authors of Music (NASCAM) has hailed the decision by the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court to fine a local trader employed at a computer shop in Katutura for music piracy.

Petrus Immanuel was recently slapped with a fine of N$4 000 for selling duplicated compact discs (CDs). 
In 2017, Immanuel was caught red-handed by the Namibian Police and NASCAM officials, following a tip-off that he was making copies of original CDs of local musicians and burning them on empty CDs. 
He would go as far as making colour copies of the front cover of the album and charge a measly N$40 for the CD, which would cost N$120 in the shops.

John Max, the CEO of NASCAM, said artists affected in the copyright infringement include the late Jomolizo, Shitana and Satlam. 

Copyright infringement means the use of works protected by copyright law without permission where such permission is required, thereby contravening exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works.
“The money will go to the state, however, the artists can open a civil case and demand damage. This should be an example to the others that it’s serious if you are caught infringing on any other creative products. It is best to buy original material,’’ cautioned Max.

He said the first case of such a nature was reported in 1998 when a foreigner was caught with a machine duplicating cassettes and was sentenced to four years imprisonment. But, this particular case was procedurally dealt with through the courts, signifying a great milestone for the entertainment industry.
Other notable cases reported over the years were music pirated from the Omalaeti stable and King Tee Dee, who confiscated up to nine music jukeboxes from owners in Katutura’s Eveline Street after he found that the machines were loaded with his music without a copyright licence in 2015.

Max further advised local artists to open a case with the police if they learn that their music or any other material they have produced is being reproduced without their permission. 

‘’We are linked with Commercial Crime Unit, who have trained Intellectual Property Investigators; they will handle the case and call our office if they need NASCAM’s expertise to further strengthen the case,’’ said Max.

On his part, Immanuel explained to the court that he knew what he did was wrong, but he needed money for school fees for his child and wanted to make money for a living.

Initially, the state suggested a fine of N$30 000 or eight months imprisonment, but Magistrate Mutafela Likando took into account that Immanuel is a first-time offender and earns a minimal inconsistent wage. Likando thus granted a fine of N$4 000 or six months’ imprisonment should he default on payment.

Strauss Lunyangwe
2019-06-21 11:32:59 | 7 months ago

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