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YouTube Piracy Is Rife In Zimbabwe, Here Is What Musicians Can Do About It


Half of my childhood was set in the late 1990s ,years which, most people agree, were some of Zimbabwe’s best years. Like me, a lot of people like to listen to Ezomgido tracks from the good old days when we had our own reputable currency and the entire region looked up to us when it came to matters of food security. YouTube is a natural enclave for such music.

Stealing from the dead

The trouble though is that most of the music from this era was made by musicians who have since passed on. We have people like Biggie Tembo and his Bhundu boys, Marshall Munhumumwe and the four brothers, Leonard Dembo and James Chimombe. Some of the musicians are very much alive but have limited tech skills.

Taking advantage of this a group of YouTube pirates have risen to the fore. They upload tracks recorded from the Ezomugido shows onto their VCRs to the platform, some make fan videos or tack a string of sometimes relevant images and combine these with ripped audio.


Based on views these pirates are raking in quite handsome sums by robbing the dead, ignorant rights holders and their estates. YouTube thwarted some of the smaller pirates by disabling monetisation on smaller channels with less views and subscribers when they changed their monetisation conditions but that has left the larger pirate channels to thrive.

What artists can do about it?

YouTube has a tool called Content ID. A right holder can use the tool to protect content to which they have rights. Rights holders can upload their copyrighted works. YouTube then scans its vast library to see if there is any offending content that has already been uploaded.

When offending videos are found rights holders have options. They can either choose to monetise the videos upload by the pirates which means all revenue which was supposed to go the pirate now goes to the content owner. They can also apply to have the videos removed.

Content ID continuously monitors the YoutTube library and informs the rights holder when new offending work is found.To learn more about Conent ID please click on the link.

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