Botswana’s app geared up to end music piracy

Digital Content

A mobile developer in Botswana has come up with an app set to frustrate music piracy specially through file sharing. This move, he says, was motivated by the fact that African musicians lose billions of shillings a year to piracy and copyright-related issues.

Itumeleng Garebatshabe, the developer, said the new mobile application will make it hard for sharing of music files from one device to another via bluetooth.

Garebatshabe’s firm Intelligere Media built the application that once users install on the phone, keeps the songs intact in the application on the phone memory. The songs cannot be shared or transferred afterwards.

According to Intelligere Media, the mobile digital application cannot play a song that is not on the smartphone. The developer believes that this will help fight music piracy, which has been detrimental to Africa’s music industry for long.

A report in Kenya claims from 10 songs played, nine are pirated. The pirates earn billions of shillings a year even as the artists and the government lose an estimated KSh4 billion annually.

The Kenya Copyrights Board, its legal counsel Edward Sigei, recently asked the Kenya government to introduce stiffer penalties to pirates -- apart from the 10-year jailterm for offenders and the KSh800,000 fine.

Sigei was quoted by the Daily Nation as sayingt the fine should be "increased and the sentence lengthened.”

Although religious places and non-commercial activities are exempted from paying the penalties, Sigei wanted the board to be empowered to ensure premium content providers paid more to the artists.

According to Garebatshaber, this new app is well oiled to reduce and even end music piracy.

He said: "the  Mobile Digital Album Application only plays a music album from an internal player within the phone and as smartphones become commonplace in Africa by the day, this app will help revolutionise music on the continent”.

Presently, Intelligere Media claims the US$10  priced app has received over 1,000 downloads across the world.