The Attorney General and the Opposition in Parliament have agreed to process together a proposed amendment of the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 2006.
In July, Parliament granted leave to Hillary Kiyaga, the Mawokota North MP to introduce Copyright and Neighboring Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
While seeking leave by the House sitting chaired by Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, MP Kiyaga said that the current law does not grant due benefits to originators of works, something that the proposed Bill seeks to cure through ensuring revenue from ring back tunes and devices used in the reproduction of protected copyright works.
“I know you are fed up seeing musicians on the streets as beggars; it is because their works are not protected. It is, therefore, the duty of this House to protect their works,” Kiyaga, a musician then said.
He added that the proposed amendments would ensure penalties and sanctions on infringement on copy-right works, something that Kiyaga said has proved tedious and unattainable for most authors in the country.
During a meeting on Friday, the Deputy Solicitor General, Pius Biribonwoha, and Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga the parties resolved that Kiyaga and stakeholders from government work together and ensure that the proposed amendment Bill is urgently considered during the current financial year.
“We have been sharing synergies emanating from the motion moved by Mawokota North MP. It is a private Member’s Bill but the government picked interest and this is one of the first meetings of stakeholders to consider how best this law could be amended to serve the purpose for which the private member moved the amendment motion,” said Mpuuga in part.
According to Mpuuga, the Deputy Solicitor General informed his office that the Uganda Law Reform Commission hitherto to the proposal by Kiyaga was also considering the amendments.
“So the stakeholders are going to be meeting to look at all the gaps and move together. It is our considered view that there will be no injustice on any of the stakeholders if we build these synergies to serve the purpose,” Mpuuga added.
Mpuuga tasked the Deputy Solicitor General to furnish his office with a timeframe for finalizing the Bill since it is highlighted in the Opposition legislative agenda, as one of the Bills to finalize this financial year.
Biribonwoha said that the Uganda Law Reform Commission, working together with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB)- which registers copyrights andenforces them, has been already working on something regarding the Bill.
“We were of the view that the two interested parties should perhaps synergize and avoid duplication of efforts and work together in order to attain what the objective of this amendment is,” said Biribonwoha.
Regarding the resolution reached, he said that he was to inform the Attorney General and ensure that the ongoing process is expedited, as they work with the mover of the Bill to ensure that the matter is urgently handled.
Kiyaga, said that he has no problem working with the different government departments to ensure that the proposed amendments are made. He said that all statements in the industry need to be consulted with a view of having an industry whose work is respected.