80,000 books seized in raid on bookshops

Mr Charles Batambuze, the executive director of Uganda Reproduction Rights Organisation, displays one of the books that contains counterfeited material, which was seized during the raid. PHOTO by ephraim kasozi.

What you need to know:

The raid seeks to stem out piracy which has between October to-date made publishers lose more than Shs10b.


More than 80,000 books worth Shs1.8b have been seized from bookshops and printers in an operation to crackdown on the sale of unauthorised publications.

The joint operation by publishers and the Uganda Registrations Services Bureau that started in October last year, saw the seizure of books from sales points, publisher premises and homes, in a move to enforce copyright. Mr Charles Batambuze, the executive director of Uganda Reproduction Rights Organisation, said the move seeks to save authors and publishers from incurring losses due to piracy.

Biggest threat
“Piracy (unauthorised printing and distribution) is the biggest threat to the printing and publishing industry. It is estimated that the sector has lost over Shs10b in the period between October 2013 upto-date,” he told journalists in Kampala.

Mr Batambuze who displayed books seized from printers, bookshops and various homes countrywide said arrangements have been finalised to fix holograms on all books to be sold countrywide. He said the new technology that would see all books sold on the Ugandan market bearing a stamp, seeks to enhance the fight against piracy.

Protecting books
A hologram is a form of a stamp fixed on genuine books to differentiate them from those plagiarised with a view of helping inspectors to identify rightful books on sale the market. The chairman of the National Book Trust, Mr Martin Okia said businesses and vendors have with impunity infringed on the copy right of both Ugandan and foreign authors which has killed the market for genuine books. “Authors and publishers have lost business due to piracy. This evil also affects buyers in terms of getting substandard and or altered materials,” said Mr Okia.

Piracy also creates loss for government in terms of revenue because pirates don’t pay tax,” he added. He warned business operators against dealing in pirated books saying they risk losing their property as well as facing criminal and civil liabilities.