Kundai Marunya Art Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Publishers Association (ZPA) has declared war on individuals and organisations involved in piracy, saying the practice has crippled the local book industry.
ZPA said it has enlisted the services of the police to fight piracy.
Publishers, according top ZPA, have lost revenue running into thousands of dollars.
Masimba Madondo, ZPA vice president, said his organisation was embroiled in a legal battle with a private school caught in possession of 700 pirated books.
The case came to light following a blitz on book piracy.
“We approached the Ministry of Home Affairs and they commanded the police to raid perpetrators on the streets and institutions like schools,” he said.
“Several arrests were effected and we are currently in a legal battle with a Marlborough private school which was found in possession of 700 counterfeit books.
“Although the raids and arrests are a huge step towards curbing piracy, the penalties on perpetrators are not enough to discourage the crime.
“Our successful prosecutions only yielded fines. The highest paid in fines was RTGS$200, a small amount compared to time, resources and legal fees that would have been used.”
Madondo said the raids were yet to account for big players.
“We are not getting the big players. There is a very sophisticated institution that is pirating books, producing good quality books that are close to matching the originals. It will be great if such a big player was to be arrested,” he said.
ZPA is currently lobbying for stiffer penalties and lengthy jail sentences against perpetrators.
“Piracy is making the economy of the publishing sector to tumble. Many people are now shying away from publishing as piracy takes away all the profits.
“When creating books especially academic texts, there are a lot of people involved including teachers, subject experts, graphic designers and illustrators among other stakeholders.
“All these need to be paid either upfront or through royalties.
“Piracy will then reap all the rewards and everyone in the value chain loses out,” he said.