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Zim’s Creative Sector Gets Tough On Content Piracy


In the face of spiraling piracy of films, TV shows, Music, Software, Literary works, and other creative content, African economies, including that of Zimbabwe, are losing millions of dollars in revenue. To raise awareness of, and curb, this scourge, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe has partnered with MultiChoice Zimbabwe to host an anti-piracy workshop this month.

Siyabulela Jemsana, General Manager for MultiChoice Zimbabwe, says that current estimates put the global cost of content piracy at US$71 billion each year. This amount grows each year as content pirates get more sophisticated in their illegal copying and sharing efforts, and consumers continue to turn to pirated content for their entertainment fix.

“The illegal copying and sharing of content, including movies and TV shows from torrent sites, is threatening millions of livelihoods and undermining the future of the creative industry worldwide. This massive loss of income is more than the gross domestic product of whole geographical regions! Zimbabwe is not spared from this and our creative sectors are suffering,” Jemsana explains.

Local actors, actresses, producers, directors, sound engineers, cameramen, and all the people employed in our creative industries lose out when pirates steal content. Beyond the film and TV sector, piracy affects software, music, literature, and other fields. This prevents Zimbabwean creatives from being able to tell their own stories and has a devastating knock-on effect on the Zimbabwe economy.

“Zimbabwe is home to a rich and dynamic creative sector with huge growth potential. However, piracy is undermining this potential and actualized growth,” says Barbara Gotore, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Acting Director. “The prevalence of piracy can be attributed to several contributory factors, including the scarcity and high cost of genuine products, poverty, poor distribution networks, a slow judicial system, and new digital technologies that easily enable the illegal, mass reproduction of copyright-protected works.”

As a leader in local and international video entertainment, MultiChoice Zimbabwe (MCZ) has long addressed the issue of pirated content with Zimbabwe audiences through its TV channels and on its digital platforms, raising awareness of this crime and how consumers can avoid falling prey to it.

MCZ is also a member of Partners Against Piracy – a pan-African campaign established specifically to fight piracy, support content-producing industries, and protect creatives from job losses as a result of piracy.

With MCZ being at the forefront of the battle against content piracy, it made sense for NACZ to partner with the broadcaster and work together to ensure a greater impact on anti-piracy efforts in Zimbabwe.

The upcoming anti-piracy workshop takes place right after World Intellectual Property Day on 26 April 2024, and within Culture Month, which NACZ marks each May. This year’s Culture Month theme is, ‘Our culture: Building Zimbabwe brick by brick’, reflecting the national drive to implement the National Development Strategy. Relatively, the anti-piracy workshop shall run under the theme: A culture of learning: Building Zimbabwean Creative sector brick by brick which dovetails the Culture Month theme.

The workshop will raise awareness of intellectual property and piracy within the arts and culture sector targeting both upcoming and mainstream artists and key stakeholders in the cultural and creative industries.

It will also highlight the importance of public-private cooperation in the fight against piracy and safeguarding copyright.

“Piracy poses a legitimate industry threat, and immediate action must be taken to stop pirates and protect the rights of content creators and providers. This action must come from the united efforts of government institutions, entertainment businesses, and all professionals working in the creative industries.

“This first workshop being jointly hosted by NACZ and MultiChoice Zimbabwe, is supported by the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) and the Zimbabwe International Film Festival Trust (ZIFFT). It promises to go a long way to educating the public about the seriousness of this problem, and better protecting our artists,” concludes Jemsana.

The event will be taking place at Cresta Jameson Hotel on 7 May 2024. The contact person at the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe for Programmes: is Mrs Barbara Gotore and her contact is [email protected] or landline +263 242-304526

Sheltryn Parangira

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