Malawi: Artists Presses Electronics 4 U to Vacate Blank Media Levy Injunction

2 December 2019

Artists on Friday invaded Electronics 4 U shop in the capital Lilongwe in a bid to seek answers on why the owner of the shop popularly known as Muhamad got court injunction restraining the blank media levy which was supposed to directly benefit artists including musicians amidst increased cases of piracy.

Government introduced a levy on all storage devices with an aim of protecting the creative industry which is faced with a proliferation of music websites where people download creative works such as music for free something not benefiting the artists.

However, Muhamad is believed to have gone to court and get an injuction against the same thereby irking artists in the country and they mobilised themselves to confront him so that he could explain his intentions.

Speaking during the exercise, team leader Anthony Dumba said Muhamad potrayed a selfish spirit and as such artists can not sit and watch him doing business that infringe others.

Dumba said the levy was expected to save musicians who are not enjoying the fruits of their hard work due to levels of piracy in the country despite existence of the Copyright Act of 2016.

"As artists in this country,we are very sad for what Muhamad did, he went to the court to take an injuction restraining us from getting a little benefit from the levy. Government considered us by introducing this scheme but it seems like other evil minded people like Muhamad do not want to see us smile and we can't tolerate that nonsense.

"We are here today,we want Muhamad to go and vacate the injuction as soon as yesterday,we are tired,if he is not going to do that ,he will see and he will regret what will happen here,"he said

Gospel artist Thoko Katimba also concurred with Dumba saying they will do anything until the injuction is vacated and they have since warning other business people in the country to respect the scheme.

According to Katimba, with the help of Copylight Association of Malawi (Cosoma) the levy was suppose to be charged and collected on importation of items such as audio and video cassettes, compact discs (CDs), modulator, MP3 player, Blu-Ray, USB flash disc and Sim card.

In his response Muhamad said he was going to take an action within 5 days.

Among other artists who were available during the exercise are Skeffa Chimoto, Gloria Manong'a, Kendal, Vincent Kadzakumanja, Peter Mlangeni, Aphraim Zonda of Great Angels, Francis Phiri of Marvelous Deeds, Kondwani Chirwa, Limbani Simenti, Peter Sambo,Gloria Fachi from Mzuzu and Chimwemwe Binauli of Kamuzu Barracks among others.

Blank Media levy is a government-mandated scheme in which a special levy is charged on purchases of recordable media. Such taxes are in place in various countries and the income is typically allocated to the developers of "content" including actors, musicians and poets.

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