Our agenda is to protect the artistic intellectual property- ZIMURA

The Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) has contributed by collecting royalties that would benefit music creators, composers, publishers, and families of the late music content creators, among others, with the goal of protecting artistic work that has been historically used for free by most business firms, including hotels, bars, lodges, buses, and other individuals for profit making.

Families of the late musicians such as Leonard Dembo, Dr Oliver Mutukudzi, Cephas Mashakada, System Tazvida, Paul Matavire, Simon ‘Chopper’ Chimbetu to mention a few are already benefiting from the royalties that are collected by ZIMURA.

Several artistes have welcomed the development that is now seeing them reaping from their sweat.

Speaking at the launch and press conference held last Friday in Harare, ZIMURA executive director, Polisile Ncube — Chimhini said of late they have been facing challenges as an organisation in collecting royalties for music creators as well as in licensing the users.

“Our agenda is to protect the artistic intellectual property yet people do not understand or even think that music is a property therefore it is the duty of the media to educate communities that music cannot be used for free without benefiting the owner.”

“We have legal officers and revenue collecting officers across the country who are assisting in making sure that everyone complies with the rules and regulations,” she said.

She said that those who are using the music for profit making through entertaining their customers are obliged to display their valid ZIMURA licenses to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law.

She said, at times their officers are beaten during the course of their duties just because some people do not understand the effects of using other people work for free (Copyright Act). “Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) is an association for Music Composers, Authors and Publishers.

 It was founded in 1982 to protect some of the rights granted to creators of music by the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act of Zimbabwe, Chapter 26:05.”

ZIMURA’s Board chairperson, Albert Nyathi said, their major thrust is to represent and protect music creators all over the world through reciprocal agreements who are signatories of Music Rights Associations & Societies commonly known as Collective Management Organisations (CMOs).

 “Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Berne Convention, which provides for equal treatment of music rights holders throughout the world.

ZIMURA is affiliated to the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies (CISAC), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), and Companies and Intellectual Property Office of Zimbabwe under the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs among other organisations that uphold Intellectual Property Rights,” he said.

He said, ZIMURA is celebrating 40 years of existence with the mandate of protecting the rights of copyright music owners.

“The Organisation has therefore arranged to hold a 3-day festival. The festival will have two editions for the Northern (Harare) and Southern Regions (Bulawayo) in September and October this year,” he said.

Nyathi said, to mark this celebration special, the event will culminate into three days of live performances whereby numerous artists from various genres shall perform.

“The two editions will witness live performances by popular artists chosen from the two regions,”

“The celebrations (ZIMURA @40) will also feature a book launch. The book will document the journey that the Organisation has had since its inception. The success, challenges, legal battles as well as the first members to join the Organisation just to mention a few are some of the insights that shall be documented in the book,” he said.

He said, in addition to the aforementioned, the book will clarify the various misconceptions by the public on the mandates of ZIMURA as enshrined in its founding documents.

 “For several times the organisation has been criticised for not performing some duties that should be performed by music unions. However, these are not the organisation’s primary mandate and line of work.

“We also intend to introduce music awards for Artists who enjoys music airplay on radio, television and online platforms,” he said.

He said for the success of the event, ZIMURA has engaged event management consultants to manage the two events and some adverts would be on social media platforms.

He said, Mike Billion Events will manage the Harare Edition while Simon Phiri (Mbazo) manages the Bulawayo edition.

“ZIMURA also plans to construct a twin state-of-the-art Music and Cultural Centre in Harare similar to the one being constructed in Bulawayo,”

“We have secured 5000 square meters of land in Emhlangeni Suburb in Bulawayo. Construction at the site has commenced with the installation of a security wall completed. Drilling of a borehole was completed in November 2022,” he said.

He said in Harare, engagements are underway with the City Council to try and acquire land.

Alexio Gwenzi the director of Information and Publicity in the Zimura Board said, the Music and Cultural Centre is an attempt by the Organisation in addressing socio-economic issues that affects established, upcoming and aspiring artists.

“The facility will be equipped with various training rooms to cover guitar, piano, dance, drums, acting, film and other related artistic activities, particularly aimed at the youth,” he said.

He said the event will be an arts and culture hub with a garden and internet to ensure the youth are taken off the street and to stop drug abuse.

First Farai is the Deputy Chairperson, Advocate Witness Zhangazha is the board member and legal officer, Mudiwa Hood – Board member while Janet Manyowa is the Treasurer. – The Herald

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