John Blaq Appeals with Gov’t to Enforce Copyright Law

[Image Source: John Blaq Instagram]

By Gloria

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Ugandan artist John Blaq has appealed to the government to consider enforcing a copyright law in the country, in a bid to ensure that artists’ works are protected and they earn from it.

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According to John Blaq, Ugandan artists have been battling to get their royalties from UPRS; a collections agency in the country mandated to collect royalties on behalf of audio and visual rights owners.

He argues that if a copyright had been in place, their struggles would be non-existent since there would be a clear policy on royalties and no third parties illegally consuming their music.

"We pray that the government enforces the copyright law because we have fought for this for a long time. We wouldn't be suffering with UPRS if our music was copyrighted and actually getting royalties out of it.

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"Very many people are using our music and we aren't earning anything from it. I would be among the rich people around town but we lose a lot of money," he said.

Weighing in on the effects of the pandemic on artists, John Blaq notes that since there is copyright law in Uganda, artists barely earn from their music, therefore forcing them to depend on shows, which have been  put on hold in the country for the past one and a half years.

He notes that artists are struggling since they can’t earn royalties from their music, and also can’t perform due to the pandemic. According to him, having a copyright law in place is the only solution for the challenges facing the music sector in Uganda.

"At this point a Ugandan artist depends on door to door concerts but if the copyright law was enforced well, we would be earning a whole lot of money. So we pray that the government considers us too because our music makes a lot of money for this country which is not accounted for," he said.

Recently, the Ugandan government through State Minister for Gender and Culture, Peace Mutuuzo noted that plans are in place to create a digital platform where artists can share their content and earn from it, as a way of cushioning them during this Covid-19 times.

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