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Musicians urge Kadaga to implement copy right policy

The Vice President Uganda Musicians Association Ykee Benda giving his remarks as the president Ms. Sophie Gombya looks on. The musicians want copyright law tightened. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – Musicians under their umbrella Uganda Musicians Association (UMA) have on Tuesday, June 25 tasked the Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon. Rebecca Kadaga to implement the copy right law by empowering the copyright policy.

In a letter dated June 25, the UMA president Ms. Sophie Gombya has expressed their gratitude to the speaker citing the importance of their members having copyright.

She has noted that countries that put in place effective structures that handle copyright administration benefit from it.

“Kenya Copyright Board established in 2001 has now propelled Kenya into the third position…amongst countries that benefit from copyright-based industries. Kenya now boasts of kshs169 billion revenue,” Gombya said in a letter.

According to Ms. Gombya, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is the ministry in line for copyright-based industries and should be the one to draw statutory instruments for the regulation of the sector and not the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

She has requested the speaker to intervene on the price of caller back tunes so that musicians can benefit from their work.

“One of the biggest revenue bases for their music is the Caller Ring Back Tunes (CRTB) but the telecom companies take advantage of the musicians and end up paying them less than 10% in revenue share due to conditions that allow for such unconscionable bargain,” reads the letter in part.

In addition, she has requested the speaker and parliament to intervene in the mismanagement of the society that collects artists’ revenue as well as endorsing the Uganda Musician Association.

She has further expressed her discontent of the Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS) cheating artists as the association has tried to find solutions to the matter but all in vain.

“We recommend investigations into the dealings of a one James Wasula the sole source of these challenges but as a matter of urgency, we want him to be suspended so that he does not interfere with the process as he has done in the past,” she said.

Ms. Gombya said that in the meantime Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) can appoint a caretaker manager as provided under section 75(4) of the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 2006.

Ms. Gombya has further requested the speaker of parliament to bridge the gap between UMA and the embassies and cultural attaches.

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