BLOG: Bigirimana Entitled to Copyright Protection for YLP Model

By Albert Mukasa

I write to respond to an opinion published in the Daily Monitor in its edition of Friday 3rd July 2015.

The author of this opinion was stated therein to be Dr. Kakooza, capsule adiposity the Dean of Law at Uganda Christian University Mukono.

I understood Dr. Kakooza to, malady find among, cialis 40mg other things, have been aggrieved by the Registrar of Copyright in granting copyright protection to the Youth Livelihood Model (YLM)) which later gave birth to the Youth Livelihood Program (YLP) to Mr. Pius Bigirimana.

In understanding his understanding of copyright law, in particular S.8(1) of the COPYRIGHT AND NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS ACT 2006, Dr. Kakooza could not come to terms with the wisdom of the Registrar of Copyright in allowing Mr. Pius Bigirimana, a government employee, to secure copyright protection for the Youth Livelihood Model (YLM).

He contended that according to S.8(1) (supra), the copyright protection should instead have been in Mr. Bigirimana’s employer, the Government of Uganda.

I, with the greatest respect to Dr. Kakooza, disagree. I disagree with him because his argument lacks both factual and legal grounding.

To begin with, he presented a rather skewed argument, to put his concerns in perspective, one ought to have a proper and exhaustive appreciation of the legal regime governing and or regulating copyright protection of authorship and all matters related thereto.


The law in this regard is properly cited by Dr. Kakooza is the COPYRIGHT AND NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS ACT 2006. For purposes of informing my opinion, I shall invite to my aid, S.4 & S.5 of the copyright law (supra) and juxtapose them unto S.8 of the same law in its entirety to drive home the point that he chose to tread a legally flawed path.

Contrary to Dr. Kakooza’s  reading and application of S.8, it is not a rule of general application that an employee, be it Bigirimana or any other employee by whatever name called, whether employed by another person, body, organisation or government, is, by virtue of their employment as such disabled, by the Act from having their authorship subject to copyright protection.

It is unfortunately apparent in Dr. Kakooza’s opinion that a copyright in respect of any work created by an employee of any person, body, organisation, or government, ipso facto, vests in that person, body, organisation or government.

He either advertently or inadvertently misses the point that the definitive character of S.8 (supra) so far as limiting copyright protection of employee authors is concerned is proof that the work in respect of which a given employee seeks copyright protection was commissioned by their employer.

I have read and reread his opinion but I have not been able to come across anything to suggest that Mr. Bigirimana’s employer, the Government of Uganda, specially commissioned to him to create the YLM.

Therefore without Dr. Kakooza proving to his readership that Bigirimana was commissioned by the Government of Uganda to create the YLM, his argument that the copyright in it ought to have vested in him but rather his employer is not only legally superficial but it is also factually frail.

I have equally had the benefit of perusing and reading in depth, the YLM and its hybrid YLP. I can state from a premise of fact that the Government of Uganda cannot be heard to say that the copyright in respect of the YLM would vest. It would not because; it neither is fully aware that it neither commissioned Mr. Bigirimana to do it nor contributed a thing in its formulation.

It is a fact that YLM was not domesticated by the author. It has not a single line, paragraph, sentence or phrase that makes it Ugandan in character, context and application. In fact, for all intents and purposes, anybody who has laid their hands on the YLM will agree with me that it is a global model.

My other point of departure from Dr. Kakooza is his failure to appreciate and apply the aspects of the Copyright law so far as they are applicable to and protective of the concept of originality.

A casual reading of Sections 4&5 of the Act would clearly make a case for Dr. Kakooza that for as long as there is no petition contesting the originality of the authorship sought to be subject to copyright protection, the natural and ordinary course to be taken by the Registrar of Copyright is to have the author given a certificate of copyright registration.

In the case before us, Dr. Kakooza was not helpful in his opinion, in showing what aspects of the YLM deprive it of the originality tag. Under the law, work is said to be original if and only if, proof is availed, proof is availed that such work is the product of the independent efforts of the author.

I am yet to hear from Dr. Kakooza whether he has information contraverting, in material particular, the fact that YLM is a product of independent efforts of the author, Mr. Pius Bigirimana.

Therefore, my overall appreciation of the law, on interalia, copyright registration, is that the Registrar of Copyright was satisfied that YLM was a product of the independent efforts of Pius Bigirimana and thus was absolutely faultless in having it registered as his copyright protected work independent from his employer, the Government of Uganda.

By Albert Mukasa

Practices law with M/s Kanduho & Co Advocates

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