Ugandan Composer Wants Royalties For The National Anthem

from the welcome-to-ownership-culture dept

One of the unfortunate byproducts of a culture that teaches us that something like a song can be “owned” and that each time it’s played the “owner” needs to get paid, is you end up with situations like the following one, where the composer of Uganda’s national anthem is suing the government for copyright infringement, claiming it owes him royalties for every time the song has been played by the government. Without knowing the details of Ugandan copyright law, there’s a bit of a problem in that it appears the government did pay him (not very much) initially for composing the song, which would suggest that it was a work for hire, and he shouldn’t have retained the copyright. However, from the sound of things, that wasn’t particularly explicit. Either way, it sounds like cold hard cash outweighs national pride — though, it is odd that the guy waited 45 years before suddenly realizing that he should get paid.

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Comments on “Ugandan Composer Wants Royalties For The National Anthem”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Work for hire =/ giving up copyright

Just because a service is work for hire, doesnt necessarily mean that the producer gives up copyright on the product.

Take wedding photographers, for example. They almost all are work for hire, yet many of them, as is spelled out in their contracts, retain copyright on the images, freely using them as they wish.

Yes, not all photographers do this – the key factor is what and how it is spelled out in a contract.

Hopefully the govt of Uganda had a contract with this guy in which details were spelled out. Otherwise, they may be in for a world of hurt.

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: Work for hire =/ giving up copyright

Right, in “work for hire” the photographer loses copyright to the customer.

Since he’s a jackass, before he takes a pic, he makes the unwitting customer sign a contract whereupon the customer forfeits his rights to the copyright, and they fall back to the photographer. That’s called a scam by most people, but for some reason is the norm in the photography industry.

Rose M. Welch says:

Re: Work for hire =/ giving up copyright

…many of them, as is spelled out in their contracts, retain copyright on the images, freely using them as they wish.

I’ve been married twice. The last time, all of the contracts I saw did say that they retained the copyright but specifically said that they couldn’t reuse them without permission. The point being that they couldn’t sell them to anyone but you but you ,i>would have to pay if you wanted additional copies.

This time, all of the photographers are boasting about giving away the CDs and rights to the images as part of the package.

The free market rules. 🙂

hegemon13 says:

What a moron

If something I created were selected for National Anything, I would be thrilled. I would gladly let the government use it for little to no money. First of all, I still love my country (US), despite the current reprehensible leadership. But, more selfishly, don’t you think that “composer of the national anthem” is a title you might be able to leverage elsewhere in your career?

Anonymous Coward says:

I guess it is a crazy idea that someone could “create” a song, and in that “creation” they would own what they “create.”

Yep, it is. Since they didn’t create each note, instrument, word, etc. specifically, what they are really doing is a collaborative work, and they should have to get permission from the very first person to use those specific notes, the people who built the instruments in the very first place, the first people to use the instruments, anyone else who has ever used the same notes in music, the first person to use any of those words and anyone else who has used those words, and God help you if you use a cliche in your lyrics…

All art is collaborative and should be done for passion and enjoyment or it isn’t art at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Canada just went through almost the same thing… except it was the theme song for Hockey Night in Canada (arguably the second national anthem).

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation balked at paying more royalties to the lawyers for the composer and then a competing network bought the rights to the song.

Soon we’ll have our own homegrown (groan) reality show to pick a new theme song.

Oscar Holito says:

What a crazy guy

Why don’t you be proud of your Country. I am living in America and the way Americans are so lovers and proud of their Country make me to be so sorry on the Composer.
When I was still in school, they could ask in examinations that who composed the Uganda Anthem. You should been very happy that the all Ugandans sing what you have compossed and you are well known by Name and you are in the History of Uganda, you shouldn’t have open your mouth for money.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you’re a consumer just be happy you’re lucky enough to have us creators around to create the stuff you cherish so much.

Huh? What does ownership have to do with creation? It’s been shown, quite clearly, that copyright and such false “ownership” concepts actually hinder creation of new content.

So what was your point again?

NotBob says:

Not so odd, really

“it is odd that the guy waited 45 years before suddenly realizing that he should get paid.”

It’s not so odd, Mike, when you realize that it was only recently that a lawyer was able to track him down and convince him he was being taken. All the while charging by the minute to consult with him.

PS: One would think I had an axe to grind with a lawyer but I actually don’t. I just find the actions of the majority of them, distasteful, shall we say?

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