Copyright is an establishment characterized as property rights subsisting in certain specific types of works as per the copyright and Neighboring Rights Act of the Laws of Uganda. Section 2 defines copy as work in written, recorded fixation form or in any other material form. Still, an object shall not be taken to copy an architectural word unless the object is a building or a model. The copyright law establishes the right of the author to commercially exploit his works through selling copies of the work, licensing, assigning, and others, thus dealing with intellectual creations and protection.
Work that is eligible for copyright protection includes scientific and artistic works such as articles, books, pamphlets, lectures, addresses, sermons, and other works of a similar nature, dramatic, dramatic musical, and musical works, among others envisioned under Section 5.
The principal aim of copyright law is to protect work from distortion and address the author's economic rights and redress in cases where infringement arises. The work owner is given exclusive rights to do certain acts related to the work, such as making copies of the work, broadcasting, or selling copies to the public.
Copyright law exists to prevent authors from taking advantage of another person's creative works/efforts. However, in the case of University of London Press Ltd v University Tutorial Press Ltd court held "that there remains the rough practical test that what is worth copying is prima face worth protecting." This case is accessed freely via http://notesforfree.com/2018/01/15/copyright-case-brief-university-london-press-limited-v-university-tutorial-press-limited/
Section 4(1) (2) (3) stipulates that any work established must meet the following requirements to be protected by law.
Copyrightable should be original; that is to say, the production should be unique and distinct from works of other authors. The concept of originality as established above was interpreted in the idea of original very loosely; for example, the works don't have to be new or innovative, but somewhat originality is more concerned with how the work was created and required that the work was originated from the author, its creator and that it wasn't copied from another work.
BIO Trading &Financing Ltd v BIO Heat Ltd, where an author makes preliminary drawings before producing a final version, the final version doesn't lack originality merely because a preliminary drawing or sketch preceded it. Therefore, protecting the illustration and not the final drawing wouldn't make sense. As a result, the Artist would find problems improving or exploiting his original work.
Work must be reduced to material form in whatever method irrespective of the quality of the work or the purpose for which it is created.
Furthermore, it states that the protection of the author's work shall be subject to formality, and work is original if it is the product of the independent efforts.
For authors to claim ownership, there must be moral rights as defined under Section 1 as the right to claim ownership or authorship of performance as provided under S.10 and 23 that the author of any work protected by law shall have a moral right to claim authorship of that work except where it is included in current events by media or other means to have the authors name mentioned or acknowledged each time the work is used and to object and seek relief if there is any distortion, mutilation, alteration or modification of the work.
However, there are instances when the law allows copyright infringement, and these include the derivative works such as translations, adaptations, and other transformations existing works and collections of preexisting works like an encyclopedia, anthologies which by selection and arrangement of their contents constituting original works shall be protected under the law as the original.
Public benefit works are not protected as envisioned in Section7 that is to say, where any copyrightable works are used to educate the public or to create or sensitize the public on matters of public interest, the law exonerates liability from the government for copyright infringement. This further goes to commissioned works under Section 8 of the same Act.
In conclusion, it is essential to note that the law does not protect ideas, concepts, procedures, methods, and other things of a similar nature. Furthermore, the law specifies the duration of copyright protection and an author's related rights that don't exceed fifty years. Therefore, observation and keen attention should be employed to identify copyrightable works and those not as established in the analysis above.
The Copyrights and neighboring Act 2006 can be accessed freely via https://www.ugandalaws.com/principal-legislation/copyright-and-neighbouring-rights-act-2006
NOTICE TO OUR READERS: This is general information concerning copyright, therefore it shouldn't be construed as legal advice. If you want legal advice, Contact your legal service provider or email us [email protected] for further guidance.
The Author Praise Vivian is a Contributing Writer at the Judicial Sound Exponent and a legal scholar.