New Vision (Kampala)

11 October 2013

Uganda: Trial Date Set for Trio Embroiled in Copyright Infringement Case

The suspects are accused of selling pirated copies of books and secondary school test papers to customers without the authorization of the copyright owner, Ibrahim Semaganda.

Faith Ndegwe 51, James Kategere 38, and Sulaiman Rashad 21 on Thursday appeared before trial magistrate Simon Kintu Zirintusa at Buganda Road Court to answer charges of copyright breach.

The grade one magistrate set the date after the state prosecutor, David Lukwago admitted that the investigation into the matter was complete and ready for trial. "Your worship the DPP has already finished carrying out investigations and is just waiting for trial to start," Lukwago added. Prosecution led by Lukwago alleges that the trio committed the offence on September 18, 2013. They all pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Prosecution also alleges that the suspects at Nakasero Market printed, photocopied and sold duplicated copies of UNEB past papers (UCE) and UACE physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics books without the authorization of the copyright owner.

It is alleged that the suspects sold duplicated books to shop centers such as City Park bookshop, Nkwangala Bookshop, Parents Bookshop, T and F Bookshop, and Kampala Central bookshop.

A total of 70 exhibits (duplicated books) which was recovered from the suspects along Duster Street and Kampala Road book shops will act as evidence during trial. The suspects were charged with infringement of Copyrights and Neighboring Rights Act 2006 contrary to section 46 and 47 of the penal code.

Copyright owner, Semaganda told New Vision that the pirated books had missing pages at the center of the text books. "When I reviewed the book page by page, I found that some pages were missing," Semaganda added.

The suspects are out on a cash bail of sh2.5m each after presenting two substantial sureties who were bonded at sh5m each not cash. According the law, the suspects if found guilty could serve a maximum sentence of over five years in jail or forced to compensate the author of the book. The police however is still on the hunt for ten other suspects who escaped from the book shops.

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