The number of registered authors in Uganda has dropped from 60 to 15 and in part piracy is to blame.
Fountain Publishers Managing Director Dr. James Tumusiime said many authors have been shocked to find their books published by people from Nasser Road while they are still in manuscript form. Dr Tumusiime said this while officiating at the copyrights workshop aimed at creating awareness on the copyrights law and empowering stake holders.
Many Ugandan writers have been forced to take their work abroad to countries that respect copyright law depriving the country of intellectual gains.
Uganda passed the copyright law in 2006 to protect creative work but law is yet to bite hard
Justice Yorokamu Bamwine, the principal judge, said lack of sensitization among authors about their rights has led to their exploitation.
“Many of the authors do not know their right and those who know don’t know where to go to for help in case a person violates the copy right law,” Bamwine argued.
Bamwine also noted that piracy cases are not handled like high priority cases so they may need to be a new methods devised to emphasise their importance.
Bamwine confessed, “It’s surprising that even us the judges we have little information on that law and I don’t even remember it being talked about at law schools, therefore its better advocate for tribunals for cases like these to quicken the hearing.”
Tumusiime said that many authors have abandoned their writing careers out of frustration. He said, “Inside of seeing especially people from Nasser road earn from the sleepless nights writing a book, it’s better to leave the job and focus on other things.”
Tumusiime noted that if protected, content can be among the lead contributors to a country’s Gross Domestic Product like Nigeria is earning big from its creative industry.
He said, “Many countries are earning lots of money from exporting content and here in Uganda most people don’t even care to get the right for the things to republish content.”
The intellectual property law protects materials like literacy works, music, drama, architectural works, sounds and recordings and others.