The Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) cracked down on piracy confiscating counterfeit CDs and DVDs worth P210,000 during their raids in Mogoditshane and Francistown this month.
The purpose of the raids, according to CIPA communications manager, Marietta Magashula, were to monitor the use of the security device, known as the hologram and to confiscate all non-complying CDs and DVDs by laying charges on culprits.
“We held the anti-piracy raids in Mogoditshane and Francistown between the 5th and 17th of this month in which the police arrested a total of 16 offenders,” said Magashula.
She added that piracy takes away the earning potential of the artists who spend a lot of time and money creating works, which end up being pirated.
“It also stifles their creativity because of the lost income that may have otherwise been used to create more music for the enjoyment of the public,” she said.
Magashula also noted that piracy might chase away foreign investors in the music and film industries as they may view Botswana as a less attractive place to put money into if piracy is rampant. However, she urged all producers of film and music to join the fight against piracy more especially by purchasing the hologram, which is used to authenticate all CDs and DVDs sold in the market.
Holograms are available for purchase from CIPA offices in Gaborone, Francistown and Maun. “CIPA wishes to caution the public against buying pirated works. A pirated copy will often be an amateurish version of the original and will not have the same sound or picture quality or even last as long as an authentic copy,” she said.
She added that often the contents advertised on the cover of a printed CD or DVD turnout to be something different from what the buyer was expecting.
Retailers of pirated works risk being fined up to P20,000 or being imprisoned for a term not exceeding 10 years or both for first offence, depending on the severity of the case.
Further, CIPA intends to intensify the war on Copyright Infringement by closely collaborating with Botswana Police Service (BPS), Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) border officials, affected artists and their unions as well as the general public by conducting more spot checks.
The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (CAP.68:02) states that every sound and audio-visual recording made available to the public for sale, rental, lending or distribution in Botswana must have a security device (hologram) affixed to it.
This applies both to locally produced and imported products. The security device is used to differentiate between authentic and pirated works.