Another Rap: Museveni defends self in Shs5b bid

A photo collage of president Museveni (R) and Richard Kaweesa (L)

What you need to know:

Response. President Museveni’s lawyers say they are still studying the contents of Richard Kawesa’s letter and will respond soon.

President Museveni has responded to the Shs5 billion demand by singer Richard Kawesa who is claiming payment for copyright of Another Rap song used by the head of state during his 2011 presidential campaigns.
In the October 30, 2018 demand notice to the President, Mr Kawesa claims he wrote and produced the song under Mr Museveni’s instructions.
Mr Kawesa contends that the song made Mr Museveni the first iconic hip hop president thereby making him more famous but it was registered for copyright without remunerating him.
“This song also became a popular ringtone which obtained on all mobile telecommunication platforms and enhanced the top of the mind awareness of your brand to the Ugandan populace while making billions of Shillings in royalty fees in the process. It is the reason we hold that the politico-commercial value and mileage you extracted from the said song is very substantial and undisputable,” Mr Kawesa states.
On December 20, Mr Museveni’s lawyers KTA Advocates wrote to Kawesa’s counsel Muwema and Company Advocates confirming to him that they had received his demand for payment and asked him to wait for their response.
The lawyers also described Mr Museveni as the copyright owner of the Another Rap content comprised in the song under dispute.
“The copyright owner has placed in our hands a letter dated October 30, 2018 in regards to the subject in which you contest ownership of the work,” reads KTA Advocates’ response to artiste Kawesa.
Mr Museveni’s lawyers said they were still studying the contents of the letter and would ‘respond soon.’
“Kindly hold any anticipated action till we respond,” their letter reads in part.
The letter was copied to Mr Museveni and the Director for Intellectual Property registration at Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).
Mr Kawesa’s lawyer Fred Muwema confirmed receiving the letter from Museveni’s lawyers but declined to divulge the details.
“We are also waiting for final response,” he said by telephone.
Mr Kawesa’s demand notice through his lawyers, contends that Mr Museveni took all moral and economic rights to the said song and even registered its copyright without recognising his associate band as author, director and producer of the works.
Citing the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006, Mr Kawesa says the musical work belongs to Mr Museveni but for the reason that he authorised the creation and production of the music attracts a liability for payment.
“Our client considers that it would be unfair to take away the copyright ownership of this song from you at this stage and will therefore not be seeking the cancellation of its copyright registration which is in your names unless it becomes necessary,” reads Kawesa’s notice.
The notice suggests that it is legal and equitable that Mr Kawesa and his team comprising Henry Kiwuwa, Robert Segawa and Steve Jean be adequately compensated for creation and production of the said song.
Mr Kawesa states that he is aware of Article 98 of the Constitution through which a sitting president enjoys immunity from legal proceedings but asked Mr Museveni to treat the notice as an invitation to amicably settle the matter.