By Fred Kiva
An assortment of pirated books worth millions of shillings was on Thursday afternoon confiscated in an operation mounted by the Uganda Reproduction Rights Organization (URRO).
The books for both lower and upper primary schools were confiscated from a disguised store at Dastur Street in the heart of Kampala. URRO officials escorted by police raided the locked store, which had writings “Free Space for Rent”, only to find several boxes of books when they broke into the room.
Charles Batambuze, the URRO Executive Director said through their informers, they learnt that these pirated books were being stored in a building along Dastur Street, prompting the Thursday operation.
Batambuze revealed that such operations would continue to protect publishers against piracy.
“This piracy is affecting genuine publishers, three publishers here in Uganda have closed shop because they lost business to those who print and reproduce the books,” Batambuze said.
He defines piracy as reproduction of books or other works without the consent of the author or original publisher.
The URRO boss noted that there is now an increase in the sale of pirated books as the school term opens. He said although they have carried out similar operations in schools where such books are sold cheaply, they had not carried the same to open markets and this has seen the vice thrive.
In 2016, pirated books worth 1.8billion shillings were confiscated mainly from schools.
”We have been doing these operations in schools, we are now going to open market. We want to make the public know that it’s wrong to deal in pirated books,” Batambuze emphasized.
The Copyright Law
If anyone wants to sale or reproduce a book or work he/she needs permission from the owner, it’s therefore illegal for anyone to sale, distribute, print or reproduce a book or work without permission from the owner.
According to Batambuze, copyright infringement can be both a criminal or civil offense. On the criminal part, anyone found guilty of the offense is liable to imprisonment of not less than two years or a fine of 2million shillings or both.
In civil procedure, the offender pays damages to the publisher as determined by court, depending on the effect of the piracy to the publisher.