The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is investigating 23 TV stations following allegations that they have been broadcasting copyrighted content without authorisation, violating the Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006.
The Commission recently sent letters to the stations requesting that they immediately cease broadcasting any programmes or content they do not have the necessary approvals or copyrights.
The Commission wrote to the stations in letters signed by Ag. Executive Director Ms Susan Wegoye “that Section 46 of the Copyrights and Neighbouring Rights Act of 2006 strictly prohibits broadcasters from exhibiting copyrighted content to the public for commercial purposes without a license, valid transfer, assignment, or authorisation.”
The Commission has received 84 reports of alleged copyright infringement from the TV stations, most of which are international films.
“Clause 18 of Schedule B of the License Agreement, which was executed between your station and the Commission, reiterates the requirement for every station to establish and maintain records of rights obtained for programming requiring copyrights and/or broadcasting rights (exclusive orders),” the Ag. Executive Director wrote.
As part of the investigations, the Commission has directed the stations to respond to the complaints in writing, per sections 5(1)(b), (x), (j), 31, and 45 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013.
The Commission has additionally required “proof and documentation of acquisition of copyrights and broadcasting rights” for the concerned programmes, following Clause 18 of Schedule B of the License Agreement established between the station and the Commission.