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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Filed Under: copyright, national anthem, royalties, uganda


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2008 @ 11:37am

    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.

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