Last week, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni launched the Intellectual Property Policy at State House, a policy meant to protect the works of the creatives and help them to financially earn from their crafts. Sounds good, right?.
Well, this reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend who asserted that copyright enforcement is a dream that cannot be achieved. But with the launch of this policy, I think this is now dream that will come to reality, some day. Our artistes will be able will to earn from their art but not now, it’s going to be a gradual process.
Certainly, when a policy is passed, that doesn’t mean that it effects, there and then. There are terms and conditions or what you’d call intellectual activities like sensitization of all stakeholders, public consultation, process of registration and just to mention but a few, that’ll be implemented before real enforcement starts. But my worry is about the enforcement, and how it’ll effected. In an industry with no proper structures, that’s a big challenge, awaiting them.
On a lighter note, this policy is going to enhance the growth of our music industry. In the past, Sony Music and other international music companies had failed to have branches here because we had no guiding policy. But with such news, we are going to start attracting such investment.
However, our creatives need to understand what this policy means. If you’re an artiste but you adamantly refuse to register with the UPRS (Under URSB), then this policy won’t help you. And you shouldn’t cry when it doesn’t. For instance, recently Mesach Semakula recorded an audio dubbed ‘Onkuba’, but the moment he wanted to upload it on YouTube, someone else had already done and they were earning from it. And so the app wasn’t allowing him to upload it yet in actual sense he’s the real owner of the song. In such a case, if Mesach Semakula didn’t registered his song with UPRS, then they can’t intervene to track down this person and fine him/her on behalf of Mesach.
On the other hand, we have artistes who have products which were copied from other big artistes abroad. And so when you register, it means that these big artistes would come for you. I can only imagine if Rapper Fik Fameica register with UPRS under this policy, it means that Wiz Kid would sue him for replicating ‘Jolo’ in his ‘Muko’ song, and Tanzania’s Chin Beez would too fine him for sampling ‘Mafia’ song. So if you’re not an original creative, then this policy will definitely get you into trouble.
Otherwise, let’s keep our hope intact, that this will be fruitful, someday.