Ayoo n Mutuuzo

Why amending the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006 is relevant

(Last Updated On: 21 November 2023)

Oyam I Discussions have begun as Uganda intends to amend the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006. In the proposed amendment, the Act will cater for the well-being and operationalization of musicians, and those in the creative industry.

“At the heart of the creative economy are culture and creative industries that are involved in the creation, production, and distribution of cultural goods and services,” State Minister for Gender and Culture Affairs, Peace Regis Mutuuzo told a Committee on ICT and National Guidance on November 8.

The minister who was appearing before the Committee chaired by its Deputy Chairman, Hon. Tonny Ayoo (MP, Kwania County), added that her ministry will be responsible for artistic policy and development, providing cultural infrastructure like theatres and accommodation to artistic societies implemented through Uganda National Cultural Centre.

“The ministry is responsible for the National Culture Policy. The ministry is basically lacking the key legal tools for control of culture and creative industry as these are vested elsewhere. That said, there is a need to bring back these roles to the ministry like it used to be prior to 1993 before the Ministry of Culture was disbanded,” she added.

While Parliament is also having discussions to amend the Act, the process is ongoing with the office of the Attorney General. The minister is now calling for an amendment to some of the provisions to “remain relevant in the current era of technological advancement”.

“On the issue of the reorganization of the culture and creative industry sub-sector, my ministry figured this out a long time ago in 2006. The National Culture Policy 2006 which is under revision, provides for the National Culture Forum (NCF) to provide a common platform under which artists would collectively lobby, undertake capacity building and support government efforts in implementing the culture policy,” Mutuuzo told the Committee.

The above, she revealed was achieved following the operationalization of NCF in 2019. In 2021, the Forum received a capacity-building grant from the government under Covid-19 stimulus fund.

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“During Covid-19 years, the music industry experienced some turbulence. There was a total of 12 associations most of them being splinter groups of Uganda Musicians Associations,” she noted, adding that the ministry, UNCC and NCF have been instrumental in building consensus for the unity of musicians.

The latest musician to emerge is Uganda National Musicians Federation (UNMF). Since UNMF is operating in the interim, the minister has suggested that they mobilize all other associations and individuals in the whole country and after hold a general meeting which will consider the formation of a substantive leadership.

The substantive leadership, she said will take care of the interests of the different artistic groups.

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Sharing the problems affecting the creative industry, minister Mutuuzo said there is still not enough support geared towards enabling access to markets, adding that artistic products gain entry into other markets through attendance in international art markets and festivals.

In regards to digitization, she revealed that currently we are faced with several challenges including digital literacy. “There is a lack of control of digital channels which are used to commercialize creative products such as music. The high cost of internet data is another big encumbrance to the creative artistes as well as poor remittance of royalties to the beneficiary artistes.”

“As a government, we need to address these challenges urgently to get more Ugandans on the streaming services and streamline the remittance of royalties from commercial content users.

“We are also engaging the Ministry of ICT to address the cost of data to promote local content and protect the quality of culture and creative products,” she stated, calling for the creation of fiscal incentives to attract investors in the sector including in areas like local content delivery networks and performance arenas.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Committee told tndNews later, saying that the Act should be amended to include electronic devices, the use of computers, the use of live streaming; and the use of tablets so that whoever – even you using your smartphones – if you downloaded – you have used any piece of work – part of the money (after download) should be given to the artists and this was lacking and it is why this amendment is very important.

“As you are aware, the artists petitioned Parliament and the petition was referred to the Committee to process and see how best they can be of help. One of them is the caller ring-back tune where they are complaining the telecoms are not paying them well.

“Also, radio stations and television stations that play their music are not paying them and yet it is required that they needed to pay them but also through their collective management organization and UPRS that is not yet remitting money to them,” MP Ayoo added. Read details of a similar story here.

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