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Journalist embroiled in copyright infringement battle over Busoga book

By Betty Amamukirori, David Lumu

Added 29th January 2017 11:45 AM

Simon Musasizi, a former journalist with a local newspaper, The Observer, and Edward Echwalu, a photographer have dragged the chairman of Busoga Tourism Initiative Limited (BTI), Edward Kafufu Baliddawa to the courts of law, accusing him of copyright infringement.

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Domestic tourists celebrate a successful hike atop Kagulu .Photo/ File photo

Simon Musasizi, a former journalist with a local newspaper, The Observer, and Edward Echwalu, a photographer have dragged the chairman of Busoga Tourism Initiative Limited (BTI), Edward Kafufu Baliddawa to the courts of law, accusing him of copyright infringement.

A copyright battle has ensued between two tourism journalists and former Member of Parliament for Kigulu North, Edward Kafufu Baliddawa, over a travel book on Busoga region.

Simon Musasizi, a former journalist with a local newspaper, The Observer, and Edward Echwalu, a photographer have dragged the chairman of Busoga Tourism Initiative Limited (BTI), Edward Kafufu Baliddawa to the courts of law, accusing him of copyright infringement.

The duo wants court to declare that Baliddawa and BTI infringed on their copyright, and issue a permanent injunction restraining them from the continued infringement.

They want an order for an account and surrender of all proceeds earned by the former legislator and the tourism company from the infringement. According to the plaint filed on January 20, Musasizi is the author and copyright owner of the book titled ‘Best of Busoga’ while Echwalu contributed the photographs in the compilation.

Musasizi says his journey to compile a book on some of the best tourism sites, both cultural and physical, in Busoga started in 2012, when the Premier Busoga Tourism Expo was held.

During the expo, Musasizi says, he noted the need for information on the several potential tourism sites in the region. He filed the case through Kiiza, Tumwesige, Ssemambo Advocates (KITS Advocates).

“Sometime in early 2013, the 1st plaintiff (Musasizi) initiated the idea of writing a travel book on Busoga and contacted a one Moses Agaba, the proprietor of Fathil International Projects Ltd (FIPRO) with a proposal for the latter to print and publish the proposed book,” reads part of the plaint.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was executed in which it was agreed that FIPRO would look for advertisers to take up space in the book while Musasizi carrys out research, writing and compilation of the book.

He said that Agaba suggested that for ease of business, it was necessary for him to obtain a cover letter from the speaker of parliament as patron of BTI, which he did with the help of Baliddawa who had shown interest in the initiative.

Musasizi contends that he worked tirelessly conducting research, collecting data, verifying the information obtained, and writing the content to ensure that the entire book was ready by end of 2013 while Echwalu captured photographs.

He allegedly interviewed and recorded stories of different people in Busoga including the late Chief David Kauhne and Chief Yasin Waguma and solely compiled and authored the text of the book.

“The 1st  (Baliddawa) and 2nd (BTI) defendants’ only contribution to the content of the book was sourcing for old pictures of Busoga, paying the graphic designer and sourcing for funding for purposes of printing and publishing,” he states.

He says that before FIPRO could publish the book, it suffered an economic setback, forcing him and Baliddawa to look for another source of finance for the printing and publication of the book.

However, Musasizi states that as he was still waiting for a funder for the publication of the book to be found, he was shocked to discover through media reports that the book had already been published with Baliddawa as the author.

He says, on perusing the contents of the book, Baliddawa had changed parts of the book and assumed its authorship in total disregard of his work, effort, creativity and originality and only referring to him as a researcher.

He says the book is currently being sold in supermarkets, stalls, bookshops and other outlets, at sh100, 000.

In his letter written to Rebecca Kadaga on December 13, 2016, seeking for her intervention in the matter, Musasizi who now resides in France, said that they have never been paid by BTI for their efforts.

When contacted, Baliddawa said although he recognizes Musasizi’s contribution towards the book, he (Musasizi) was not the author.

“He was a researcher whom I used to give money for the work done; I recognize that he did the work but only as a researcher. It is not correct that he was the author. Therefore, it took me by surprise to learn that they have sued me over the book,” he said.

 

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