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By Reagan Ssempijja
In the last few days, a Ugandan film, The Girl In The Yellow Jumper, and its maker, Loukman Ali, have been trending again because the film finally streamed on Netflix on December 26.
A lot of congratulatory messages to Ali flooded social media, and one could imagine that at some point, our film industry’s new poster child probably switched off his phone for a breather.
To many, Ali had started off by ticking all the boxes to a successful career, which he undoubtedly is, until that Facebook post by Tshaka Mayanja, on December 27, diverted us to a fresh discussion around the film – this time talking controversy.
So, the thing is, The Girl In The Yellow Jumper, as is the case in many other films, featured a number of songs. Songs made by local artistes. One of the songs, Mudaala by Aethan Music, has since sparked off a debate on social media, after Mayanja alleged that the owner of the song, Producer Aethan, was not only not paid royalties for this song, but also did not consent to the use of his song in the film.
Producer Aethan
The allegation attracted many reactions from both informed Ugandans and those who simply had some data to use. To save a reputation that is seemingly taking off supersonically, Ali swung in with evidence that he received permission to use Mudaala from rapper Tucker HD, one of the artistes who featured on the song. He flashed screenshots of emails between him and the rapper, saying Mayanja should have crosschecked before posting anything.
Be that as it may, because the song featured other musicians like Keko and J Baller, it was hard to believe that Tucker HD was the rightful owner of the song and, therefore, had the right to give consent.
In a phone interview with Producer Aethan, therefore, he started by painting a picture of how the song Mudaala was created, in 2016.
“I came up with the concept of the song, called up Keko, Tucker HD and J Baller to feature in the song. I went ahead to pay for everything, including studio time for each artiste and the video, which was later shot in 2018. I probably even paid for transport for some of the artistes,” says a disgruntled Aethan
He, therefore, exploded with dismay upon the news that Tucker HD submitted the song to Ali as though he owns the song. He blames Ali, too, for lack of professionalism because, “basic procedures would demand that Ali and his team try to find out who actually owns the song before taking Tucker’s claims for gospel truth.”
Going forward, Aethan says he wants royalties paid for his song, and credits given to Aethan Music, not Tucker HD. “Short of this agreement, my team and I are proceeding to court,” he says.
Has Ali squeezed enough cash  out of his rather infant film career yet to cough some millions? Does he have a stronger defence to counter Aethan’s claims? We wait to see where this leads.

 

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