Uganda Today: During the burial of Kato Lubwama, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu president of National Unity Platform and an erstwhile musician in Uganda, opened a Pandora box by advising his fellow musicians to agitate for the enactment of of the copyright law instead of clamouring for government hand outs that render them susceptible and dance to the whims of government.
At the onset of COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant lock-down for over two years, music industry in the country was adversely affected prompting various stakeholders and performing artists to run to government for bail out. Uganda’s president young brother who doubles as the in-charge of the heavily government funded Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), Salim Saleh, came to the dais to invite individual groups for hand outs. Subsequently these various groups were advised to form a federation that would be budgeted for in the national budget just like what is done for FUFA.
Despite the fact that the budget for performing artists was passed, the federation had never been registered with Uganda Registration Services Bureau, though Edirisa Musuuza (Eddy Kenzo) acted as a president for a non registered federation. It is against this background that Kyagulanyi advised members to avoid becoming ‘beggars’ but instead put pressure on government to enact a law such that all artists who compose creative works can earn loyalties for ever.
Eddy Kenzo Uproar Against The Advice Lead Him To Hurriedly Register A Federation haphazardly
Kenzo registered a private company limited by guarantee of 100,000. What this means is that Kenzo and Sheebah can misappropriate government 32Billion on behalf of musicians and when push comes to shove….. they only have to fork out 100, 000 each and walk away scot free. this is the same problem we had with FUFA LIMITED which was a company owned by Dennis Obua and Haruna Mawanda.
The two mortgaged FUFA house (a public property) for a loan of 300M from Kirumira. They thought they would get away scot free. Concerned Ugandans: Fred Muwema, Aldrine Nsubuga, Vincent Waiswa Bagiire, Dennis Mbidde and a couple of other people fought these two opportunists until they served terms in Luzira. The ORDER OF MANDAMUS that was applied to Dennis Obua and Haruna Mawanda, should in the same way be applied to Eddy Kenzo and Sheebah Karungi to the effect that URSB should dissolve this illegal entity henceforth. Ideally the guarantors are supposed to be the different associations of musicians not these two individuals.
In Uganda, the law on copyright is epitomized in the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006 (hereinafter, ‘The Act’). The Act seeks to provide the protection of literary, scientific, and artistic intellectual works and their neighbouring rights, and to provide for other related matters. The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act was passed primarily because of two major factors. First, the fact that the now repealed Copyright Act 1953 had not been revised to cope with developments in commerce. As such, the law was an impediment and not a facilitator of economic reform.
It was thus necessary to enact a law that would be relevant to 21st-century demands.Secondly, and perhaps more importantly because it was the driving factor, Uganda was facing international pressure to reform its intellectual property regime. On 1 January 1995, Uganda became a member of the WTO. Article XVI.4 of the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization stipulates that each Member State shall ensure that its laws and regulations are compliant with the Agreement. As such, Uganda had to reform its domestic legislation so as to harmonize it with WTO standards.
Uganda Performing Right Society derives its mandate to operate from the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act of 2006 (the Act) and is regulated by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
The Act spells out how one obtains copyright or neighboring right; what qualifies to be protected under the Act; provides for how protected works may be exploited by third parties; the duration of rights protected under the Act, and creates offenses for infringement of copyright and neighboring rights.
It also provides for civil sanctions and remedies for breaching copyright and neighboring rights by individuals and bodies of persons.