Police raid DJs in search of pirated music
POLICE in Bulawayo allegedly confiscated DJs’ laptops last week as they embarked on a crackdown on people in possession of pirated entertainment products.
The blitz last Thursday hit most nightspots in the city and DJs were ordered to surrender electronic devices such as laptops, USB disks and external hard drives which were suspected to contain pirated music.
Some DJs opted to pay the $20 fine instantly while the rest apparently got their laptops back two days later after paying the fine to the Licensing and Inspectorate Department at ZRP Drill hall. According to most DJs, five policemen pounced and told them that playing music from laptops was illegal as they had to play using original CDs.
One of the DJs, Flexxy O, who had his laptop confiscated from Copa Cubana where he operates from, said: “We asked them why they were taking our laptops while we pay Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) to play music at functions and bars.
They said they were from another department that deals with copyrights and they were on an operation to see if we were using original CDs.
“However, what they failed to appreciate is the fact some of us, if not most, buy music from the Internet which is not illegal.”
A DJ who preferred anonymity said he was told that he was contravening the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act chapter 26.05.
“The guys came while I was playing. They met up with the place’s manager and they told him that they wanted to take my laptop as I was in violation of a certain Act. He spoke to them and paid a fine of $20,” said the DJ.
DJ Nospa, a freelance DJ, said: “What I don’t understand is that we’re made to pay for the DJs licence which covers all aspects of copyright.
Now there’re these people who can come here anytime to confiscate our laptops.
“What happens when my laptop gets damaged or lost while it’s in their possession. Rather they fine you and you pay their fine later.”
Bulawayo police deputy spokesperson Assistant Inspector Abednico Ncube said they were not aware of the raid.
“It’s an offence for someone to be in possession of pirated music and the fine for this is $20. However, we don’t know of any operation that happened on the said day and if people’s laptops were confiscated,” said Ass Insp Ncube.
Nightspots that were raided according to the DJs include Pub Lagondola, Club 263, Stop Over and Copa Cubanna. Comment from Zimura could not be immediately obtained.
DJ Nospa, one of the raided DJs