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Day June 17, 2019

Do Ugandan musicians and artists get any protection of the law with regard to copyright breach?


by George Okello via UAH forum

Madagascar Singer Lianah Plagiarizes Irene Namatovu’s Song


How much compensation did Iryn Namubiru get for breach of the copyright of her song Begombeko?. It is one of the greatest songs ever by a Ugandan musician, I love it, but it was copied by Lianah, the Madagascar super star below, all most tune for tune- the only thing different is she Lianiah substitited Malagasy for luganda. I hope Namubiru was not fobbed off with a few shillings, because I think Lianah’s the cover verson sold more than the original.

Iryn Namubiru


On the bigger question, do Ugandan musicians and artists get any protection of the law with regard to copyright breach? I got interested in this because a girlfriend of mine from Nairobi sent me a song by a kenyan musician, a song called Wi Polo (Heaven) , but this was actually a very famous song in Uganda sang by Pastor George Okudi about 5 years ago and the new version is selling like hot cake in Kenya.

Play the Namubiru song and you will she her song has been lifted almost completely without any change at all- the Madasgascar woman makes a better video of the song because Ugandan musicians still dont know how to make good videos to sell their songs.

Madagascar is probably like the Philippines where copy-cat musicians are more popular than the original singers. Making cover versions of popular songs is very common in the Philippines, and the singers who sing others songs are very popular and very rich. There are all sorts of compettions where people compete in singing popular songs and winners sometimes win up to 1 million dollars. And most bars play Karaoke or sing along rather than the actual songs- even if you have never sang in your life life before, your friends will force you to climb to the stage and to sing a song. Mat be Madasgascar is like the Philippiines where nobody cares about copyright. But she sells her songs in France where she lives. That’s why I think the Ugandan musicians should take her seriously because in the Namubiru song, I am told she recieved royalties of $2.5 million!!!! I don’t think Iryn made that by selling her song only in Uganda.

Lianah actually does not need to plagiarise. She is a very successful musician in her own right- she is a genuine super star.In her defence, she said she was helping to promote black African music by putting wonderful songs like Begombeko by Iryn Namubiru on a world stage, without her, Begombeko would have remained listened to only in Uganda, but her cover version of Wala Wala has sold the song world-wide. That argument may hold water, but what about the royalties? I am not sure what Namubiru and Kanyomozi have done or intend to do to protect their songs. I suspect they may not be able to do anything, especially if they sold away their rights to their producer or promoter as often happens with budding musicians- they sign contracts that make them slaves to their producer or record company almost for life- so the company can sell the rights to anyone they want. I think this is highly likely to have happened.

Nyanzi’s charges will likely be dropped as it happened with President Jacob Zuma’s suit


Dr.Stella Nyanzi

By Peter Simon via UAH forum

If Nyanzi said that the president was a ” pair of buttocks,” is it true? And isn’t a president of any country a servant of his/her people and is it wrong if people pick issue with any leader that denies that simple relationship?

I think the president’s team are over- reacting; this is one of those charges that will likely be dropped as it happened with President Jacob Zuma’s suit. Sometime back, a painter in South Africa drew a hand sketch of four women admiring what he depicted as Zuma’s testicles meaning it seemed to him that all the four wives were attracted to Zuma by his testicles and each one was gazing at the prize. One magazine management bought the picture and displayed it for sale. Then the president’s team filed a case against the magazine owners. The president was advised to drop the case because if it reached court, the president would be prepared to submit his testicles for identification to see if what appeared on the picture were truly his testicles and whether the picture of the women admiring the testicles were the pictures of his wives. I am sure Nyanzi’s lawyers will love this case if she is arrested for instance, whose buttocks did Nyanzi say the president was a pair of buttocks because buttocks belong to somebody etc.

I would argue that those arresteded Dr. Nyanzi are feeding onto her narrative, that there is no democratic governance in the country and her arrest has exposed how intolerant the NRM government has become. Nyanzi is well known to be a government critic and a diehard supporter for FDC’s Dr. Kizza Besigye.

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