President Yoweri Museveni has launched a charm offensive with the artists community by pledging his solidarity with them in furthering their objectives.
Working through the Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS), President Museveni this week sent an envoy in the names of Maj. Gen. Elly Kayanja with a message to support them to fight piracy.
Maj. Gen. Kayanja said he had been sent by State House to work with artists to fight piracy and subsequently launched a campaign dubbed “United Against Piracy”
In this campaign, the Uganda Music Association, Uganda Performing Rights Society, Uganda Film Industry, Uganda Federation of Movie Industry and other organizations agreed to come together to fight the vice with help of the government.
During the Launch, General Kayanja promised to end all the Piracy that is entrenched in the industry. “I shall work with the team that will be elected so that we finish up all the piracy that is crippling the industry,” said Kayanja.
Jane Nambasa, the Chairperson of Uganda Federation of Movie Industry asked Kayanja to focus on enforcing the law as well as improve the technology to prevent copy cats from dubbing the audio-visual content.
Nambasa said: “We want you to start by implementing article 44 of the copyright and neighboring rights act 2006 that says that nobody shall sell some body’s work without the permission of the owner,”
“Article 19 and 20 of the copyright and neighbouring rights act 2010 that states that ‘a security device shall be affixed to each and every sound recording or audiovisual recording which is distributed or otherwise exposed to the public for sale, hire or rental within Uganda.”
General Kayanja said that whoever shall be found guilty will face a punishment. “With my appointment by the President to eradicate Piracy I want to send a warning to whoever that have been practicing it that I shall not spare them.”
James Wasula, the chairperson of Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS) urged performers to respect collective societies.
“You are the people who elect us again you call us thieves. I think we need to respect each other to promote this industry,” said Wasula.
Fina Mugerwa aka Fina Masanyalaze who represented the Uganda Music Association said that they are ready to work together and eradicate a vice from the industry.
Cindy Sanyu, the mobilizer of UMA said that the pirates should not be harassed but rather they should be brought on board so that they transact business lawfully. “We indeed need these people instead of harassing them. Let’s turn them from pirates to promoters so that we work together.”
Major Kayanja’s appointment came after a group of entertainment regulators, and performers led by Nambasa the chairperson Uganda Federation of Film Industry visited the president and told him their problems affecting the industry.
Museveni’s move could however be interpreted as a political rather than business-oriented step aimed at wooing some musicians towards him, especially now that his closest rival Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine appears to enjoy support among artists, because he is himself is a musician.