At an interview in London this week, Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo, our US-based Chimurenga music guru expressed dismay on music piracy before a scribe.
In his own words Mapfumo stated that he had a new album coming up soon but would rather hold the details to his chest up to the last minute before release for fear of looming piracy issues linked to internet activities. His fear of internet pirates is real and is fast rising like notorious predators among us. These are the modern criminals marauding in our cyberspace hoping to prey on anyone who emerges with any kind of interesting work from music, literary works, movies and any creative arts.
In the case of Thomas Mapfumo’s music, it is obvious that the feared pirates are the products of Zimbabwe who actually appreciate Mukanya’s music but at the same time also want to make unlawful benefits from the same melodies as they push it to the world using the internet platform as if they own it.
It is now a common feature these days that one’s music floods the internet before the owner has even given a two thumbs up for the
debut release, let alone decided on release date. Many are congratulated on their new albums on Facebook way before the CD manufacturers have even finished packaging the music. Some are shocked that some internet sites are already selling downloads and making money ahead of the real owners getting a penny from their own sweat. This is simply gross and wrong.
Some of us who want to act “smart” take advantage of our technology proficiency and jump the gun as we dash to the markets with the
latest music by someone and start pushing it in the name of “Ndine latest” ( I have hot music) because they falsely claim they are great acquaintances with these music super stars and mislead the public that they have been authorized to sell it to the public.
Personally, I take unbridled umbrage at such individuals who are tired of working real jobs and are now trying to snatch easier ways to cut
corners and make survival here in the Diaspora. By committing such nasty internet acts of pirating on our Zimbabwe musicians products they are feeding on other people’s blood. This is in cases where most of our entertainers throw in their blood, sweat and tears to emerge with such scintillating music hoping to make headlines, best sellers and earn decent income. I would then wonder why someone would, from the blues, make such an evil act of trying to benefit from someone’s work using the internet, hoping not to be caught.
Such cyber piracy sounds grossly unfair especially to our musicians because they will be hoping to make a breakthrough and move on to another level. This is their lifeline and once a freeloader jumps on such music and start pirating, selling it for profit without authority, consent or permission of the owner, then it is time to take action. By the time the music is officially launched, there are not so many surprises for the marinated listeners. They already have the music on their ipods and CD decks because a hustler brought it through some bootleg work. The market has already been exhausted and there is nothing left for the real owner of the music.
Such illegal activities must be stopped forthwith because they discourage many from continually making music for us. When these music maestros practice and compose music, their aim is to make a living out of it and when someone just sits on the lap top and forges someone’s music and starts making money through illegal sales for downloads to the world then we as Zimbabweans must descend upon these men and women acting underground to do such cruel acts.
Once we stop supporting our own music then we are doomed. Simultaneously, the more support we give to the bootleggers, the more we have killed the talent among us. Burning CDs and DVDs, selling counterfeit music and forged products will simply means undermining the talent that we have among ourselves. It hurts the industry and the musicians. Most are tottering to stay above water and then comes these hustlers.
Most are smarting from anxiety as they compose and play their music but spend lots of time worrying on how to beat the pirates. These
pirates are not from Asia or Nigeria. They are from our very own brothers and sisters. Men and women of dignified status who do such unprintable stuff are the very people among us who smile and greet you with respect and love on the street and at the mall. These are the very people we dine with, laugh and mourn with who are this selfish in our midst.
It’s about time we Zimbabweans lived responsibly. By stabbing behind our musicians, we are killing our own culture and identity for the pursuit of personal but selfish gain. This will not take us far because very soon we will not have as much music as we want because these musicians
will down their protest as they get tired of singing without gain. They cannot sing continually for other people to make money out of them. They cannot pour in their effort to enrich some marauding freeloaders preying on their work.
Together we can fight this war on cyber piracy. Let us support our musicians and their products through genuine purchases and sincere
support. We need them to play long. We need them to hang around and support us. It’s time we denounce cyber piracy because it is killing our talents by putting cold water on our musicians efforts. Besides that, cyber piracy is a criminal activity that can attract hefty sentences on global standards. The interpol and the FBI are strict on such activities. That said, in case you know anyone, who happens to be pirating any music or other people’s creative arts for selfish gain and the victims are from Zimbabwe, please contact this paper at (Click Here)