Performing artists petition Parliament over Intellectual property law

Intelectual Property

Federation of Performing Artists of Uganda (FPAU) petition to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over the proposed regulations to guide the entertainment industry

The Federation of Performing Artists of Uganda (FPAU) has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga challenging the proposed regulations to guide the entertainment industry.

The proposed regulations require artists to register with the Gender Ministry, submit lyrics for their songs and scripts for film and stage performances for approval and documentation, secure a valid practicing certificate for performances and stay clear of illegal drugs.

It will also require artists to sign a code of ethics, ensure decency, proper hygiene and restrict performances to one venue on a given day. According to State Minister for Culture Peace Mutuuzo, lyrics that contain offensive language, personal vendetta and plagiarism will be thrown out after the review.

However, the proposals have sparked outrage among players in the entertainment industry, several of them arguing that they are a ploy to suffocate talent and kill the flourishing industry. The artists have now asked the speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga to intervene and halt the process.

Veteran artists Andrew Benon Kibuuka, Miriam Ndagire and Rubaga South MP Kato Lubwama jointly submitted the proposal this morning saying that the artists were left out of the entire process, which in the end is proposing harsh restrictions on their trade.  They are equally concerned that the rules will discourage youngsters from joining the industry.

The group added that instead of imposing restrictions, the government should draft legislation to help artists overcome piracy and benefit from their works.

Artist Mariam Ndagire suggests that the government establishes a fund to support their works and focus more on skilling performers. Ndagire also calls for a special docket in charge of the entertainment industry which, at the moment, is lumped within the Ministry of Gender and Culture.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga pledged to support the cause of artists through appropriate legislation.

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