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Local musicians fight out piracy in Zambezi

By Simon Liseli

LOCAL Musical artists of Zambezi region have conducted a special operation to trace and abolish pirating in the region under the supervision of the Namibian Society of Composer and Author of Music (NASCAM).

The operations started on Sunday after the meeting that was held on Saturday amongst artists themselves in the region.

Mr. Evans Simasiku, Deputy Commissioner and Regional Crime Investigating Coordinator

The operations are being conducted by NASCAM members accompanied by the Namibian police force that are protecting them. This was confirmed by the Deputy Commissioner and Regional Crime Investigating Coordinator Mr. Evans Simasiku when he was reached for clarity on the issue.

Mr. Simasiku  told Caprivi Vision that NASCAM is around in the region following piracy of different songs that are being downloaded by those who are so called interested persons in so called different businesses.“To download someone’s song without his or her concern or authorization is a crime and NASCAM came to an extent of following such kind of activities and following those activities we are all aware in this region that when you go in areas such as Katima Open Market you find lot of people downloading from different areas into USB, memory cards and some are buying their CDs to download their music of which is a crime” he noted.

According to Mr. Simasiku copying someone’s song without authorization is a serious crime that can land a person into prison, is why NASCAM is in the region to stop such criminality that is happening of which they requested assistance from the police to the fact that they might come across the resistance amongst culprits which he described to be quite correct as the police are with NASCAM with their purpose to be all one of their core reasons why the are police officers to fight crime.

“And when we are fighting crime with the community, the community are the sufferance and musicians of this region they are part and parcel of the community that are sufferance and if their songs are being copied in such a way which is not registered with NASCAM, these musicians they are losing a lot of Namibian dollars whereby original documents, songs or CDs they are not being bought where they are not suppose to be bought they are just bought in streets and its something which is not allowed by the Namibian laws” explained Mr. Simasiku.

“In other ways for police officers to be involved in this operation is to secure or provide security to NASCAM people because some of the people who are selling these pirate CDs and USB are criminals and they can attack members of NASCAM of which we don’t want to come across or investigate a case where negligence of the police is being accountable” he stressed.

Asked on how the police will trace piracy music in USB and memory cards Mr. Simasiku has this to say, “They are finding them in streets and in other places like at the open market and we don’t want to investigate a case whereby somebody is requesting for security from the police we will turn the blind eyes to that particular person on his or her request.”

He also pointed out that the purpose of the police officers is to work together with the community and members of NASCAM are part and parcel of the community though its different entity that is fighting against piracy music/songs or copying of anything that does not benefit musicians of this region. “Musicians of this region are looking forward that their music one day it will be on the world market and being on the world market it will boost them to make more songs that will take this region to a higher level like other regions” he lamented.

Deputy Commissioner added that operation started in town but it will be extended into rural areas if the information will lead up to different areas of some constituencies of the region and police officers will among NASCAM members to tour the region where information will lead.

When asked to shade some lights or comment to people who are trying to practice this type of an offence he said, “These type of activities is an offence on its own and the criminal procedure act does not allow that and also NASCAM’s section does not allow that, to pirate someone’s song without his authorization or the authority of NASCAM is a serious crime.”

He added that if a person wants to involve in such a business its better to apply for a license that will allow him to copy someone’s song so we are not going to live a stone unturned and these are some of the things as am seated here I found when I arrived in this region last year and we need to work together with the community because when we work together in fighting crime we will minimize it and people will start to have peaceful minds even when walking in a street. I advice those involved in these kind of activities to stop and stop whether in this region or other region across the country.”

Another concerned musical artist Mr. Ovens Maseho Mubita (38) commonly known as Black mamba, a Kwasakwasa musician opinionated that though the move is best but the technology is still giving offenders the privilege to have access in copying songs with different devices via sophisticated platforms “It is best to introduce stickers on the CDs and the music vendors with laptops at the open market selling local and foreign music without permission should be abolished” he furthered.

Chief Executive Officer of NASCAM Mr. John Max confirmed the operations in Zambezi region in a telephonic interview with Caprivi Vision and said next operations will be in both Kavango east and west regions and last in Khomas.

“The thing is we do not want to tell people because the moment you mention it they will start hiding things. Operations are done by local artists accompanied by the police, I don’t know whether you remember the case of Shitana that was held here in Windhoek where couple of artists came together and went around checking those who have illegal music in their juke boxes” he said.

According to Mr. Max, operations are done to reduce or end theft of music without authorization of the owner as rightful owner has the right to follow up and do whatever they want. He mentioned that their last operations were in Katima and lot of pirates was found including Rundu and other towns across the country and the first operation in 2001 was held in Katima Mulilo.

“We are told that in Katima there is a big problem, people copyright songs in their lap tops and sell to the public, immediately an artist releases an album they download songs and start selling them to the public which is against the law as its not allowed at all” he concluded.