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Bobi Wine drags EC to court over copyright infringement

By Barbra Kabahumuza, Michael Odeng

Added 3rd May 2016 10:25 AM

Kyagulanyi dragged the EC to court through Busingye and Company Advocates, saying EC illegally used his song entitled ‘Obululu’ literally meaning votes as an advertisement.

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Bobi Wine

Kyagulanyi dragged the EC to court through Busingye and Company Advocates, saying EC illegally used his song entitled ‘Obululu’ literally meaning votes as an advertisement.


A local artiste, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine has instituted a suit against Electoral Commission (EC) in the Commercial Court in Kampala over copyright infringement.

Kyagulanyi dragged the EC to court through Busingye and Company Advocates, saying EC illegally used his song entitled ‘Obululu’ literally meaning votes as an advertisement.

He contends that as a result of infringement, his track/song was adulterated, pirated and plagiarized and has lost value, adding that it cannot attract a sponsor for launching the reproduction right.     

Kyagulanyi claims that he is the composer, performer, producer, owner and copyright holder of the musical production, song/track entitled ‘Obululu’. He intends to tender in court a copy of the said musical production on Compact Disc (CD) as evidence.

In his plaint, Kyagulanyi contends that sometime in 2015, he discovered that a substantial portion of the content of one of the edutainment productions was incorporated into and released as part of advertisements by the EC.

He said the advertisements were released in English and Luganda which was repeatedly played on FM stations and Television stations in Uganda, neighboring countries and via the internet worldwide.

“This unauthorized appropriation and incorporation of the said production and its contents into the advertisement was knowingly made by or on instructions and for the EC commercial benefit without my (Bob Wine)) knowledge, authorization and consent,”   Kyagulanyi asserts.

He said the adverts were in form of a virulent castigation of activities in Uganda at the time of the 2016 elections, including those said by EC to have been done or with the tacit approval of the government of Uganda and other stakeholders and concludes with a clarion-call on all sundry to rise up and take action to combat the practices and matters the advertisement complains of.

Kyagulanyi therefore seeks a court declaration that EC infringed upon his copyright and the right to privacy, identity and dignity.

He also wants court to award general and punitive damages, interest at court rate from the date of judgment until payment in full plus costs of the suit in which he seeks damages.

Kyagulanyi said he should be compensated for investment in composing, instrumenting, demo-recording, production as well as consideration for assignment of the reproduction and recording rights in the songs that constitute the edutainment album to be launched in September 2016 that has sponsorships.

Kyagulanyi added that in this programme, he relies on cultivating good rapport and understanding with authorities, to push his causes as opposed to adopting violence and other confrontational activism, and his strategy has been successful.

He avers that over the years he has reduced his productions into recorded form and has released the same by way of audio visual material marketed in hard copy as well soft versions on youtube.com as well as other soft media platforms.

Kyagulanyi claims that he has suffered embarrassment and humiliation in his dealings with various stake holders, including government agencies and players who now view him as a traitor.

He adds that he has further lost anticipated income after his musical production was degraded by EC to a mere jingle in the eyes of the public.

“Unauthorized use of my production by EC is a violation of my fundamental notions of fairness and deprives me of legal right to control and profit my name, personality and identity,” Kyagulanyi contends.

However, the court has summoned EC to file a written submission of defence within 15 days, starting April 27, 2016.

The court registrar, Thaddeus Opesen warned that if EC fails to file their defence within the stipulated period of time, it will proceed with the suit and judgment will be delivered in their absence.

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