Government Initiates Comprehensive Consultations on Copyright and Neighbourhood Rights Act Amendments

The Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Jackson Kafuuzi, announced that the government is actively engaged in comprehensive stakeholder consultations regarding the Copyright and Neighbourhood Rights Act, 2006. Speaking during the plenary session on Wednesday, 18 October 2023, Kafuuzi clarified the status of the amendment process for the Copyright and Neighbourhood Rights Act, 2006.

In July 2022, Hon. Hillary Kiyaga (NUP, Mawokota County North) received approval to introduce an amendment bill aimed at regulating piracy, safeguarding copyrighted content, and rectifying the unjust distribution of revenues collected from the creative industry by telecom companies through caller-back tunes.

Kafuuzi explained that the delay in introducing the amendment was due to the necessity for extensive consultations. These consultations, he stated, are currently being conducted by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC) in collaboration with the bill’s sponsor, Hon. Kiyaga.

“URSB, in collaboration with ULRC, is presently conducting regional consultations with stakeholders across the country before submitting the Regulatory Impact Assessment to Cabinet,” Kafuuzi revealed. He further mentioned that consultations have concluded in Northern Uganda, with additional sessions planned in Eastern, Western, and Central regions between 18 October and 15 November 2023. Stakeholder input gathered during these consultations will be integrated into the report before the drafting of a Cabinet Memorandum.

Kafuuzi emphasized that after Cabinet approval of the amendment principles for the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 2006, the Executive will present the amendment Bill to Parliament for enactment.

Highlighting the significance of the copyright amendment, Hon. James Baba (NRM, Koboko County) stressed that such initiatives should originate from the government. He emphasized the need to protect young talents engaged in performing arts and underscored the financial opportunities available through copyright.

Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, advised MPs intending to introduce private member’s bills to collaborate closely with the Attorney General’s Office to streamline the legislative process. According to Article 94(4)(b-d) of the Constitution of Uganda, MPs are granted the right to propose private member’s bills with reasonable support from the government and professional drafting assistance from the Office of the Attorney General.