Massive crackdown on book piracy: Police target vendors selling counterfeit textbooks

Inspector Abednico Ncube

POLICE in Bulawayo yesterday raided vendors selling pirate textbooks in the city centre, a day after this paper exposed an unconventional book value chain that has emerged in the city.

Chronicle established that some unscrupulous individuals are now involved in the business of replicating copyrighted literature through scanning, photocopying, printing and electronic duplication of books.

The pirates are replicating copyrighted works in large volumes and taking them to the streets where they are sold at almost half the price in bookshops.

Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the raid, but could not give details on the number of people arrested.

“The arrests are part of police duties of maintaining order in our streets and piracy is just like any other crime. We regularly deploy our officers to make sure there is sanity and order in our streets,” he said.

“Anyone found committing an offence will face the full wrath of the law. As police, we will not rest until there is sanity in the city.”

A weeklong investigation by the Chronicle revealed that textbook piracy is rife in Bulawayo with a kingpin operating from the second floor of the Cabs Building involved in book piracy business.

Other centres of book piracy in the city include a townhouse along Jason Moyo Street near the vegetable market while another is operating from a flat opposite Food4Less supermarket between 12th and 13 Avenues along Herbert Chitepo Street.

Insp Ncube said they have not received any report from the affected publishers and authors whose copyrights are being infringed upon.

“From our records, we don’t have any report on the matter, but those who feel their copyrights are being infringed upon, have a constitutional right to make a report to the police which will be acted upon,” he said.

Zimbabwe Publishers Association president Mr Tinashe Madondo said book piracy is depriving them of their economic and social benefit, and threatening the survival of the conventional book value chain.

According to, piracy of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is a significant global challenge that affects various industries and creative sectors. It refers to the unauthorised reproduction, distribution, or use of copyrighted works, patents, trademarks, or trade secrets without the permission of the rights holders.

Piracy poses significant economic challenges, resulting in revenue losses for rights holders, businesses, and Governments. Industries such as music, film, publishing, software, and luxury goods suffer substantial financial losses due to piracy, impacting investment in innovation and job creation

Many individuals may not fully understand the consequences and ethical implications of piracy. Insufficient education and awareness campaigns contribute to the prevalence of piracy, with some perceiving it as a victimless crime or unaware of legal alternatives.

The availability of pirated content and counterfeit goods often stems from the demand for affordable and easily accessible products.

High prices, limited distribution channels, and regional release delays can drive consumers towards pirated alternatives

Rapid advancements in technology, particularly the internet and digital platforms, have made it easier to reproduce, distribute, and access copyrighted works. Digital piracy, including illegal downloading and file sharing, has become prevalent due to the ease of sharing content online.

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