In a sweeping rejection of the recent copyright report by Uganda Registrations Services Bureau (URSB) and Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC), creatives from diverse domains express frustration, claiming that their input has been overlooked. At a validation meeting held at the URSB Towers conference hall, concerns were raised about the perceived inadequacies of the report set to be presented to the cabinet in mid-December.
Eddy Kenzo, the President of the Uganda National Musician’s Federation (UNMF), expressed dissatisfaction with the report, particularly regarding the proposed revenue-sharing model for Caller Back Tunes (CRBT). Kenzo emphasized the need for a substantial share (60%) in favor of creatives, with real-time splitting, a sentiment echoed by many at the meeting.
“I told AG Kiryowa Kiwanuka that won’t work for musicians. All clauses that empower us economically (CRBT, PCL) are shady; we need to realign,” said Kenzo, highlighting the economic concerns of musicians in the proposed report.
Another contentious issue revolves around the Private Copy Levy (PCL), a fee imposed on gadgets facilitating private consumption of creative works. The report delegates decision-making power to the minister, a move rejected by creatives like Mzee Bwanika, a film practitioner, and Bebe Cool, a musician. Bebe Cool affirmed political will for an effective copyright regime but stressed the necessity of a law benefiting all stakeholders.
“I have personally talked to the President; there is political will to have a functioning copyright regime. However, in our discussions, he wants a law that works for all stakeholders,” stated Bebe Cool, expressing a commitment to seek a face-to-face meeting with the Attorney General.
Emma Carlos Mulondo, the Executive Secretary of the National Culture Forum (NCF), supported the call for realigning the proposed report with the Kenyan model, emphasizing the importance of fair revenue splits and condemning the telecom industry’s reluctance to engage in consultations.
Phina Mugerwa, General Secretary of the Uganda Musicians Association (UMA), voiced discontent, stating, “That isn’t the copyright law we envisaged. We would rather stick with the 2006 act; amendments without PCL and CRBT are worthless.”
Bugingo Hannington, President of The Uganda Comedians Association (TUCA), announced plans to reject the report, citing impracticalities such as requiring a certificate of ownership from the minister for takedown requests.
He emphasized the need for affirmative action to prevent the continuous exploitation of the creative sector. As the December cabinet presentation approaches, the creative community stands united in their demand for a revised copyright report that genuinely reflects their concerns and aspirations.