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Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 19:51 GMT
Malian musicians want illegal copyers punished

More than 100 Malian musicians, who include some of the greatest names in African music, have staged an unprecedented demonstration against copyright fraud.

During an hour-long meeting with the prime minister, Ibrahim Bubakar Keita, the musicians complained about the government's failure to enforce copyright legislation, which they said left them poor and hungry. They claimed that more than two and a half million pirated cassettes were sold annually in Mali, where radio stations played Malian music all day long without paying the artists anything. In response the prime minister promised an immediate bonfire of sixty-thousand illegal cassettes -- a gesture rejected by the musicians who called instead for the punishment of those behind the illegal copying of their music.

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