In a bid to protect intellectual property rights and fight copyright infringement, Police has arrested seven people accused of illegally copying audio files on CDs and audio-cassettes and selling them.
The suspects with their equipment were yesterday paraded before the media at the Police Headquarters in Kacyiru.
All suspects claim they did not know that their business was illegal.
“We normally get an original CD, copy it and multiply in into hundreds of copies,” said one of the suspects, Yussuf Hakorimana during an interview with The New Times.
Music piracy costs the entertainment industry millions of francs every year.
According to Hakorimana, “sometimes we mix up local music with western hip hop and we sell a copy of each selection at Rwf1500.”
Music piracy is by law considered organized crime through which huge sums of money are made out of stealing newly released material and counterfeiting it.
Hakorimana claimed that he had spent only 10 days in the business before he was arrested in a police raid.
“I surely didn’t know there was a law against it until police arrested me and I am sure there are many other people out there doing the same business; I urge them to stop,” he warned.
He added that much of the music he pirated was by local upcoming artists like Meddy, Tom Close and Miss Chanel.
Another suspect, Ramadan Bizimana said that he was arrested for illegally copying audio files from original CDs to smart-phones.
According to the penal code, if found guilty, the suspects may face a prison sentence between five and ten years and a fine raging from Rwf 5m to Rwf 10m.
According to Police, new ways of detecting offenders are being devised.