By Ahmad Muto
Singer Rickman has argued that the reason the copyright law will never be put into effect in Uganda is because there is nothing organized and the media owners are not ready to pay for using their art.
“Uganda will never have copyright law simply because there is nothing organized in Uganda and everything is corrupt. Artistes would be filthy rich and guess that people who are supposed to be rich in Uganda own the TVs, radios and telecom companies are not ready to pay,” he tweeted.
He also added that for the case of telecom companies, call back tune fees that would have gone along way in putting money in the pocket of artistes have been rolled back by high taxes and the lack of proper structures to ensure the money gets to the artistes.
“Take a look at call back tunes they cost sh700 and sh1,200 monthly. The tax cuts of government are crazy. VAT and the UCC takes a cut as well and the artiste will get sh50 or sh70 if lucky. But still the lack of organisation the money is deposited in your account,” he added.
The issue of copyright has been a contentious one. Artistes have advocated for it for years, with some protesting, others threatening to while it is still a maze to a section. Last year, rapper Bigtril threatened not to vote for presidential aspirant Bobi Wine if he didn’t have the issue of copyright in his manifesto. Well, he didn’t. Singer Maurice Kirya called out the artistes who recorded ‘Tubonga Nawe’ in 2016 and for not taking a moment to consider running the issue by the first citizen after spending time with him.
On the issue of caller tunes, singer Free Boy, real name Mubarak Mandela sued telecom companies Airtel and MTN-Uganda in May 2021 for alleged copyright infringement accusing them of using his hit song ‘Kwata Essimu’ since March 2020 without his consent.