Creative industry seeks copyright protection

Because the local creative industry lacks protection, innovators to lose substantial revenue to copyright theft and manipulation

Uganda’s creative industry continues to lose a lot of money due to lack of protection. FILE PHOTO 

BY Eronie Kamukama

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Kampala- In a consultative meeting to discuss ratification of international copyright treaties, Ms Eleanor Nabwiso, an actress and film producer, discovered she would earn more money from her work if it had protection in other countries.

“We have sold and done projects without knowing our rights. Someone pays you Shs400,000 per day yet if the law was ratified, I would know I have the right to a certain kind of pay,” she says.

“The most I have spent on production is Shs60m for a movie. So imagine someone selling my movie at Shs1,000 and not even giving me Shs100,” she says.

Currently, the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 2006 protects literary, scientific and artistic works in Uganda.

International copyright treaties create a level playing field for the production and exchange of creative content by providing for mutual recognition and establishing of minimum standards.

However, Uganda is yet to sign such treaties, which according to Mr Robert Hooijer, a copyright consultant exposes creators to losses.

For this, he emphasises, the ratification must happen to help creators earn from the rapid growth in the digital space and the economic potential of the creative industry.
“If I am a Ugandan author, photographer or musician, at the moment in about 96 countries where digital work is happening, I am not protected,” he says, noting that copyright and related industries contribute between 5 and 10 per cent to gross domestic product in other countries.

In Kenya for instance, he estimates the creative industry to contribute about 5.7 per cent to GDP which in South Africa, the monetisation of copyrights in the creative industry has seen collections in music increase to Shs4.4 trillion per annum.

In Nigeria where the market is still young, collections are starting to grow at 40 per cent a year.

ekamukama@ug.nationmedia.com

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