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A copyright is a legal device that gives the creator of literary, artistic,musical, or other creative work the sole right to publish and sell that work. Copyright owners have the right to control the reproduction of their work including the right to receive payment for that reproduction. An author may grant or sell those rights to others, including publishers or recording companies

Copyright law in Uganda shows its development closely linked to the law of copyright in England. Uganda embraced the tradition of copyright long before independence under Britain’s Copyright Ordinance of 1915 and subsequently the copyright Act of 1956. The copyright Act of 1964 repealed the copyright act of Britain.
Dick Kawooya in his Research Paper tittled “Copyright and Access to Information in Uganda: a Critical review” argues that for a long time, the creators of intellectual property in Uganda were few; hence the it is logocal to assume that these legislations were to protect foreighn authors. He says that legislations were of little relevance to the greater population, which relied on oral tradition and culture for information access.

However, this outdated Copyright Act of 1964 was repealed by the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006. The objective of this was to update the copyright law to bring it in line with international standards and to also address the commercially significant changes in technology.

Ownership of copyright
A copyright is initially owned by the author or authors of the work, except in the case a “work for hire”. A work for hire can arise in two situations; 1. Where an employee creates a work within the scope of his or her employment, in which case the employer owns the copyright to the work upon its creation; 2. Where two parties enter an agreement designating the creation as a work for hire and the work falls within one of the specified categories of work designated by copyright law. If the work does not fit one of the specified categories, it will not be a work for hire even if the parties have called it one.

Copyright affords an author a number of exclusive rights. They include the exclusive right to reproduce or copy the work, the exclusive right to prepare new works that derive from copyrighted work, the exclusive right to distribute the work to the public by sale or other arrangement, the exclusive right to display the work publicly.

The copyright law recognises a copyright not only in a publisher’s collective work, but also a separate copyright for each author’s contribution to the work. With the growth in the use of electronic data bases, some freelance authors began to object to their articles being sold to companies that produced the databases. The Supreme Court in the New York Times V. Tasini, 2001, held that the US Copyright Act protects the copyrights of the writers, rejecting the argument by the publishers that the conversion of the original works to an electronic format constituted a revision of the collective work which would be permissible under the copyright Act.

Works eligible for copyright
Copyright protects an author’s original work in any tangible medium of expression, known or to be known in future. The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act provides that Literary, scientific and artistic works such as articles, books, pamphlets, lectures, addresses, sermons and other works of a similar nature are eligible for copyright.

Ideas, concepts, procedures, methods or other things of similar nature are not protected. Copyright does not also extend to works such as Acts, statutes, Decrees, statutory instruments or other law made by the Legislature or other authorised body.

Duration of Copyright protection
Under the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006, copyright protection of an authored work extends through the life of the author and to fifty years after the author’s death (Section 13. 1).
Even in the original provisions of the United States Copyright Act of 1976, copyright protection of an authored work extended through the life of the author and to fifty years after the author’s death. However, congress extended these copyright terms in 1998. Under the 1998 US copyright Act, duration of copyright law was extended for all copyrighted material. Protection extends through the life of the author plus 70 years.

European countries had earlier in 1995 extended their copyright protection to life of the creator plus 70 years.

Copyright infringement involves any violation of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner. It may be intentional or unintentional. Infringement of copyright is usually established through circumstantial evidence since evidence of direct copying of an authored work is difficult to obtain. Such evidence must show a substantial similarity between the original and the copy as well to prove that the copier had access to the original.

If infringement is established, the court can grant preliminary and permanent injunctions, or court orders that restrain the offending party from continuing to infringe the copyright. A court may also award monetory damages as a remedy for copyright infringement.

Fair use
This is an affirmative defence that can be raised by an individual who is sued for copyright infringement. It is a judicial doctrine that refers to the use of copyrighted material that does not infringe or violate the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. It is an important and well established limitation on the exclusive right of copyright owners. Once the plaintif has proven that his or her copyright was infringed upon, the burden lies with the defendant who invokes the afir use defence to prove that the his or her use of the copyrighted work of another should be legally permitted, notwithstanding the copyright owner’s exclusive rights in his work.
The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006 establishes a four part test to determine fair use according to the following factors: (a) the purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is of for non-profit educational puposes; (b) the nature of the protected work; (c) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the protected work as a whole; and (d) the effect of the use upon the potential market for value of the protected work (Section 15.2).

Fair use thus includes making of video recordings of brodacast television or films by individuals for certain private, non commercial use. If this is done for commercial purposes, it is not fair use. Arguments like this were presented in the US in a 1999 court case involving a website called Free Republic that hosted a forum where users regularly posted the full text of news articles from major news websites and offered their own comments. The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post sued the operators of the site for copyright infringement. The court ruled that even though the site didn’t charge user fees, it could be considered a commercial operation because it solicited donations and posted advertisements for other politically oriented sites. As such the court ruled that posting articles was a commercial use of copyrighted material which violated the rights of the news organisations.

Taking small quotations from an authored work and include them in another work is usually considered fair use. However, courts have found that such quotations are not fair use if the material is taken from unpublished sources. In Salinger V. Random House, 1987, a federal appeals court blocked the publication of a book that used extensive quotations from unpublished letters of the author J.D. Salinger. The court ruled that the author retained copyright ownership of the expressive content of the letters, even when the letters themselves were deposited in university library collections.
In conclusion, the copyright helps to protect the rights of media practitioners since their work can not be used by anybody for commercial purposes. It also encourages professionalism in journalism. While the copyright seeks to benefit musicians, it affects both their industry and the broadcasting stations when it stipulates that the stations have to pay musicians whenever they play their songs. This affects the musicians because while they would want to earn from selling their music, they get more mileage if the content is circulated to a wider audience for free.

The copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006 thus needs further reform to widen its benefits to users of content. It should also be revised to protect authorship of traditional creations. Edgar Tabaro in his Research paper titled “copyright Reform in Uganda: Addressing international standards at the expense of domestic objectives” argues that while section 10 of the act provides for moral rights, the provisions are restrictive and eliminate indigenous works. He says that, It recognises moral rights for authors, who are defined under section 2, thus; “author” means the physical person who created or creates work protected under section 5 and includes a person or authority commissioning work or employing a person making work in the course of employment. Tabaro says that by implication, the definition eliminates indigenous works which he says is a serious omission.
Published: 2009-11-07
Author: nyombi sam

About the author or the publisher
Name :nyombi mwebaza Samson
Tribe: muganda
Nationality: Ugandan
Religion: Protestant
Schools Attended
I had my primary school from Makonzi boarding primary school. Then I went to
Ndejje senior secondary school for my ordinary level from 2001 to 2005
There after I attended my advanced level from st mary’s boarding school kitende in 2006 to 2007
In 2008 I joined makerere university


Source: nossam enterprise

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