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Musicians call for stringent enforcement on piracy

By John Agaba

Added 14th September 2016 10:15 AM

There were hundreds of movie and music pirates in Kampala

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URSB deputy registrar general Jane Langoya (R) sharing Light moment with Uganda Performing Society CEO James Wasula (L) while artiste Bebe Cool looks on during the workshop at Hotel Africana. Photo by Mary Kansiime

There were hundreds of movie and music pirates in Kampala

So, if you are among the culprits that’s been hopping downtown Kampala to get that latest release starring Denzel Washington, Abby Mukiibi or even Lady Aisha of Bakayimbira at a giveaway price of sh1000, you will most likely have to pay more after musicians and actors on Tuesday called for fresh stringent enforcement on piracy.

There are hundreds if not thousands of un-licensed clear copy distributors, mainly located in shanty lockups and all they do is copy and print copy after copy (of someone’s should be patent label) and sell. In some instances, original theatre productions are voiced over (and turned into Engyogelele) without proper licensing from copyright owners.

“There is a lot (of piracy) going on. Artistes are not paid what they ought to be paid (for their creativity). And we have to change this if we have to make the industry more attractive and paying,” the Uganda Arts Performing Society Chief Executive Officer James Wasula said.

“People are sitting and downloading musicians’ songs, when they have not paid a coin. But maybe the artiste took months and months and a lot of creativity to come up with that particular song,” he said at a workshop comprising a number of performing artistes and publishers at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

Afrigo Band member and musician Joe Tabula said: “We need to re-contextualize the law (Copyright and Neighbouring Act 2006) so it fits our society.”

He said there were hundreds of movie and other arts pirates in Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja towns, but said the ‘pirates’ could be used to even distribute their copies if there was proper regulation.

The musician called for a fully-fledged culture ministry or a national arts council, saying the current mother ministry (Gender, Labour and Social Development) had too much on its plate to focus on the arts and to promote them.

angoya interacting with the irector of ntellectual roperty iona ayiga during the workshop hoto by ary ansiime Langoya interacting with the Director of Intellectual Property, Fiona Bayiga during the workshop. Photo by Mary Kansiime


usician oe abula Musician Joe Tabula.


Jackie Anago from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau said artistes need to be sensitized so even the radios and TV stations that play their songs and videos, pay them.

The meeting was aimed at sensitizing Ugandans in the arts about the copyright law.

Director of intellectual property at URSB Fiona Bayiga said they want to move to other towns after Kampala to see that everyone in the arts is sensitized about copyright.

Dr. Anthony Kakooza, a lecturer at Uganda Christian University Mukono, called on the artistes to not submit their songs to radios to play on air when the radios have not paid them.

Gilbert Agaba, presenting a paper on Commercial Benefits of Copyright Holders, called on the artistes to avoid infringement of law and to not assign and surrender their patent rights, but to license them if they want others to carry forward their works.

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