Singer Richard Kawesa has demanded Shs5 billion as payment for copyrights to President Museveni’s ‘Another rap’ song, which was used during the 2011 presidential elections.
In an October 30 demand notice, Mr Kawesa claims that he wrote and produced the song under President Museveni’s instruction. The song that later made Museveni the first iconic hip hop president, was registered before Kawesa was compensated.
“This song also became a popular ringtone, which was obtained on all mobile telecommunication platforms and enhanced the top of the mind awareness of your brand to the Ugandan populace while making billions of shillings in royalty fees in the process. It is the reason we hold that the politico-commercial value and mileage you extracted from the said song is very substantial and indisputable,” Mr Kawesa claims.
Through his lawyers of M/s Muwema and Company Advocates, Mr Kawesa’s letter to the president and copied to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) contends that Mr Museveni took all moral and economic rights to the said song and even registered its copyright without recognizing his associate brand as author, director and producer of the works.
Citing the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act of 2006, Mr Kawesa claims that the musical work belongs to him, but for the reason that Mr Museveni authorized the creation and production of the musical work attaches a liability for payment.
“Our client considers that it would be unfair to take away the copyright ownership of this song from you at this stage and will therefore not be seeking the cancellation of its copyright registration which is in your names, unless it becomes necessary,” reads part of the notice.
When contacted, Presidential Press Secretary, Mr Don Wanyama yesterday could not comment on the matter.
He said: “I have not seen the notice. I am sure the president’s lawyers will respond once they receive the notice.”
The notice suggests that it is legal and equitable that Mr Kawesa and his team comprising of Henry Kiwuwa, Robert Segawa and Steve Jean be adequately compensated for creation and production of the said song.
In the notice, Mr Kawesa states that he is aware of Article 98 of the Constitution through which a sitting as president enjoys immunity from legal proceedings but asked Mr Museveni to treat the notice as an invitation to amicably settle and consider resolution of the matter.
Describing himself as a front runner of East Africa’s music industry, Mr Kawesa narrates that the production of the song started in October 2010 State House event for the launch of the ‘I am Ugandan’ campaign where President Museveni was the guest of honour.
“It is at that event that while delivering your speech, you casually sung two Kinyankole folk songs one in which was ‘mpenkoni’ as a mock challenge to hip hop artiste GNL Zamba who had performed at the said event,” he states