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Copyright infringement in Uganda

The enforcement of Copyright Laws in Uganda is just starting to pick up. Today you can walk into a movie store and buy the latest movie three days old for just 1200/= ($0.5). The leaked HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS first 36 minutes was already on the shelves. Even movies which are not translated in English are sold and shockingly people buy them not knowing, only to reach home getting frustrated.

As of now meetings are going back and forth between the authorities and vendors who rip thousands of movies a day. The authorities are educating and warning them soon they will enforce and penalties will be costly. Currently in my opinion 99% of movies in Kampala are pirated movies. The business is booming. Movie renting is not a profitable business currently since its just cheaper to buy a DVD. Go to the malls, there you will find duplicators in the open making copies of DVD’s. Ink and printers printing DVD flyers. The heat from some of the shops is just unbearable.

What about music? Music ripping is not such a profitable business. Movies are the in thing now. Series, block busters on the shelves before or just a few days after official cinema release. If the FBI was to come to Uganda abruptly and start arresting fox, some malls in Kampala will become almost empty.

Its approaching end of term for students in school. There the sales shoot up. Parents come and purchase tens of movies for their kids to watch home. Movie piracy sales is big business in Kampala, thats really supporting a lot of families.

The authorities are making a move to control it. With the high corruption in UG, I doubt whether this will hold.

If they closed most shops in town, the effect will be felt in the whole country. They will be short supply of movies. Except around University students and corporate companies with high bandwidth links who torrent movies day in day out.

Am really anxious to see how it plays out.
Of course what vendors are doing is a crime, but this is Africa. And I don’t think in any movie sales prediction, third world countries like Uganda are considered. What vendors are doing is illegal. Each of them knows that. But of course its UG. There is still a lot of room for improvement of the copyright laws and enforcement in Uganda. What I don’t know. Do I infringe copyright laws when I walk into a shop and buy movies for just $0.5? For goodness sake, its a shop. Its in public. Who is in wrong? The vendor or even me the customer? Lets just wait and see the government moves. Factoring in the elections, I think thats why the state is slow on this even though every one knows its illegal. Come after presidential elections, then be sure to see men with AK-47 riffles arresting fox.

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  1. November 23, 2010 at 4:30 am

    You have more confidence in the the Ugandan government than me if you think copyright issues are anywhere near its priorities. Nothing will be done.

    Bootlegs rock!

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