Botswana’s Musician Threatens to Sue for Copyright Violation through the Internet

Internet

Internet surfing led a Botswana musician to some interesting discovery. While surfing the net early this year, jazz/fusion musician Nick Ndaba found his album, Dawn of Bojazz on sale at the world's largest Internet shop, ebay.com.

He says he does not know how his music landed in the hands of ebay.com and he is convinced he can successfully sue for millions of pounds for copyright violation. Ndaba has decided to print the web pages that contain all the information that ebay.com carried.

In one corner of the web page is Indaba's album picture, with the words, " CD of African music from Botswana jazz/fusion written on top. It was item number 260076307196. According to the information on the page, the album was located in Oxford, United Kingdom, but it could be shipped worldwide. It was going for US $ 15.

" The sale of our music on the Internet without our approval is killing our efforts as local musicians. It is illegal for companies to earn a living through our music while we do not benefit as the makers of that music. I am pursuing this issue with my lawyers to set a trend for other local musicians whose music works are being exploited by unscrupulous traders," added Ndaba, who is working on his third jazz album this year.

Ndaba says the fact that an Internet case can a filed from anywhere in the world means that he will file his case from Gaborone.

During his Internet surfing, Ndaba also found that many local musicians have their music sold as full tracks and ring tones by South African web site, Musica.com. He had web pages printed out for Mmegi, showing some of the local artistes whose music could be downloaded as full tracks or ring tones. However when contacted by telephone in South Africa a Musica official said they get the products from a local mobile company called Exact mobile.

Its divisional manager Ryan Birkin was however surprised to learn that local musicians did not know about the arrangement. He said Exact mobile is today South Africa's largest online music shop, and that they have signed contracts with four major South African labels such as Sony BMG, EMI, Universal while in Botswana Exact mobile has a contract with a certain cellular phone company, which he named. Birkin said the Cellular phone company has given them all their local music to sell as tracks and ring tones.

" Today people seem to enjoy full tracks, as opposed to mono-phonic ring tones. We are selling well worldwide." He also said that the success of his company has been that it does not prescribe to the buyer what music to buy but gives the buyer the option to choose from a large volume of music.

He however said his company deals with licensed music and urged Batswana who feel aggrieved to get in touch, with proof, so he could process their royalties. " We are not here to cheat anyone, we are not the people to be paid their royalties," added Birkin.

(Source: Mmegi/The Reporter)