Musician sues Museveni for stealing ‘Another Rap’ song

A local musician has filed a suit against President Museveni before the High Court after they failed to agree on compensation for the 2011 general election campaign song, Another Rap.

Artiste Richard Kawesa wants Mr Museveni to pay him royalties for allegedly using his musical works that gave birth to the song lyrics which the President used to promote his candidature.

Mr Kawesa claims that although he produced the song for Mr Museveni, the latter later registered copyright for it with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) without his consent.

He sued Mr Museveni and URSB jointly, seeking consequential and compensatory orders from court.

Mr Kawesa wants court to declare him the author, producer and owner of the song, adding that Mr Museveni’s use and registration of the copyright without his knowledge, consent and compensation is an infringement on his intellectual property rights.

He is asking court for “an order directing the second defendant (URSB) to cancel or expunge from the register the first defendant’s (Museveni) copyright registration in respect of the musical works.

The musician also wants “an order for a permanent injunction restraining the first defendant from further use or infringement of copyright in musical works.”

In the alternative, Mr Kawesa wants court to find that Mr Museveni commissioned him to produce the lyric and should therefore pay him reasonable and adequate remuneration with interest at 21 per cent from October 2010 until payment is completed plus legal costs.
The High Court has summoned both Mr Museveni and the URSB to file their defence within 15 days.

“Should you fail to file a defence on or before the date mentioned, the plaintiff may proceed with the suit and judgment may be given in your absence,” reads the March 7 court summons.

Neither Mr Museveni’s senior press secretary, Mr Don Wanyama, nor senior presidential adviser on legal matters, Ms Flora Kiconco, could be reached for a comment as one said he was busy and another did not pick our calls.

“Busy, will revert later,” Mr Wanyama said in a text message.

Background

In October last year, Mr Kawesa sent a demand notice seeking payment of Shs5b as compensation for the song copyright.

On December 20 last year, Mr Museveni’s lawyers wrote to Mr Kawesa’s counsel Muwema and Company Advocates, stating that they had received the demand for payment but would study it and give a response soon.

However, the response did not come through, prompting Mr Kawesa to file the suit.

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