By Betty Amamukiror
Comedienne Anne Kansiime has dragged a telecom service provider, Uganda Telecom and two local broadcast Television stations, NBS and WBS, to the Commercial Court over copyright.
According to the plaint filed at the court’s registry, Kansiime accuses the trio of breach of her image, neighbouring and economic rights protected by the law, unjust enrichment and invasion of privacy.
She stated that, without her consent, Uganda Telecom (UTL) and NBS TV entered into a memorandum of understanding on January 21, 2016, to market its product through an advert which had her as the main act (performer). The advert allegedly comprised of her image, voice and likeness.
Kansiime said that though, through the memorandum, UTL and NBS were drawing mutual economic benefit from one another, neither of them had obtained her consent.
She said that the contractual agreement between the duo subsisted as if UTL owned all rights to the advert, whereas not.
“The defendants benefited from the said advert, as it was run on the 2rd defendants’ (NBS) television network and was viewed across its viewership, and in so doing without the plaintiff’s consent, they unjustly enriched themselves,” reads part of her plaint.
WBS TV has also been dragged into the suit for allegedly playing the advert without Kansiime’s authorization.
She said that she would have been amenable to collaborating with the defendants had they approached her.
“The plaintiff would have charged the fair market value for her services as she has been doing in the current commercial market. But in deciding to use the offending works without her consent, she lost the income she would have made from her image, neighboring and other economic rights in the said advert,” she said.
Through her lawyers from Kirunda and Wasige Advocates, Kansiime contends that her current earning per quarter for her image, neighboring and other economic rights is sh50m. Therefore, she made a loss of sh100m through the illegal acts of the defendants.
She now wants court to declare that the trio infringed on her image, neighboring and other economic rights under the law, and that the infringement amounted to an unjust enrichment.
She wants a permanent injunction against the trio from further broadcasting the advert illegally and an account for and delivery up of all funds and other economic benefits received by the defendants from the advert.
Kansiime wants court to order the trio to pay her sh100m as special damages at an interest rate of 24% from the date of filing the suit until payment in full.
Meanwhile, the court has summoned UTL, NBS and WBS TV to file their defence. The suit was filed today (Tuesday).
Kansiime becomes the second artist to file a copyright case this month. Yesterday (Monday), Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine dragged Electoral Commission to court for use of his song during the elections period without his consent.