Stiff penalties vital to thwart book piracy, says Zimunya

Musaemura Zimunya, chairperson of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) has bemoaned the low fines paid by book pirates saying there is a need to introduce stiffer penalties to sustain a vibrant book publishing sector.

WINSTONE ANTONIO

In an interview with independentxtra yesterday, Zimunya said there was need to introduce harsher penalties if the nation was to win the battle against book piracy.

“Pirates are getting away with reproducing books and selling them on the streets, prejudicing the authors and when caught, they pay small fines which are not deterrent,” Zimunya said.

He said book piracy must be considered a serious crime and heavy sentences must be imposed on the culprits.

“The local book industry has suffered calamitously from the national economic meltdown, with rampant book piracy culminating in the creation of a parallel “mafia economy” run by intellectual property robber barons and cynical book thieves,” Zimunya said.

“As a sector we are fully engaged to the issue of book piracy.
with our committee lobbying for stiffer penalties against the culprits, we are optimistic that we are going to win the battle,” he said.

However, ZIBF’s effort to conduct several anti-piracy programmes targeting writers, publishers, booksellers, librarians and printers appears to be failing to produce the desired results.
This year’s edition of the ZIBF is going to be held from July 28 to August 2 under the theme: Indigenous Languages, Literature, Art and Knowledge Systems of Africa.

“Preparations for the ZIBF showcase are gathering momentum and we expect an increase on foreign exhibitors,” said Zimunya.

The ZIBF showcase is expected to hold traditional events such as The Young Person’s Indaba, Traders Day, The Exhibitions, Live Literature, Writes’ Workshop, Children’s Reading Tent and Meet the Author.

He said they were expecting the annual literary exhibition to attract more followers this year.