Enactments of the Copyright Bill, 2016 Featured

COSOMA Staff, The Director of Culture and Artists after a meeting with Parliamentarians lobbying for the passing of the Copyright Bill. COSOMA Staff, The Director of Culture and Artists after a meeting with Parliamentarians lobbying for the passing of the Copyright Bill.

At the time of independence in 1964, Malawi inherited the 1912 British Copyright Law which was deficient in many aspects. For example, the period of protection for copyright works was only 25 years, neither did it provide for a body responsible for copyright matters nor provide for the establishment of a collective management organization among others. In 1983, a National meeting on Copyright was jointly organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs (now the Department of Arts and Crafts) and the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO with participation from the various sectors of culture. From this Meeting, a national Copyright Committee was formed from which a taskforce was drawn to discuss matters of copyright further. In 1984, the first National Workshop on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights which was funded by UNESCO was held at Chancellor College with active participation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In 1987 a revised Copyright Act was drafted with the assistance of WIPO. A number of workshops were held to solicit input into the draft Law. The comments were eventually submitted to the Ministry of Justice for incorporation therein. In 1989, a new Copyright Law was passed which among other things, provided for the establishment of COSOMA.

In January,1992, the Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) was established as a parastatal organization with funding from the Government and 13 Board members were appointed by the Government as well as the first employee who later became its first Executive Director. The Organization’s specific mandate which still stands until today was to promote and protect interests of authors including collection of royalties and prevention of unauthorized use of copyrighted works.

The advent of digital technology brought in new challenges in the copyright and collective management system globally. Malawi was not spared, and the Copyright Act of 1989, was by the passing of years becoming weaker. This necessitated the revision of the Copyright Act of 1989 so that it conforms to the international treaties that are addressing the challenges brought by the digital technology as well as providing stiffer penalties for cases of copyright infringement.


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Copyright Society of Malawi
Off Paul Kagame Road
Next to the Malawi Rural Finance Company Office
Capital City
Lilongwe 3

E-mail: cosoma@cosoma.mw 
Telephone: +265 1 751 148