Examining the legal framework in curbing book piracy in Uganda
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Book piracy is the practice of using and or copying another person’s literary works for commercial purposes without the permission or consent of that person. Legal framework is a system of legal instruments that sets the rules, rights, and obligations of government, right-holders and citizens on protection of copyright. The aim of this study was to examine the legal framework in curbing book piracy so that if the situation was found wanting, strategies to curb book piracy would be proposed. The study objectives were to: establish the forms of book piracy practiced in Uganda; establish the existing legal frameworks and efforts to curb book piracy in Uganda; investigate the level of awareness of the legal framework among the book printers and its implications on book piracy; examine the scope of counter-piracy enforcement powers and the law; and identify the setbacks in the enforcement of the legal framework on book piracy in Uganda. The study adopted a case study research design and qualitative research paradigm. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), Unstructured interviews and Document reviews were the data collection methods. Major findings are: duplication, circumventing e-Books and plagiarism are the common forms of book piracy practiced; the legal and institutional frameworks are in place and putting in some efforts like awareness and sensitisation efforts, engagement with universities, and promotion of use of holograms among others; book printers were found to be moderately aware of the legal framework, but they were not deeply knowledgeable of many provisions of the laws; the laws as they are, are ineffective. The setbacks in the enforceability included the poor coordinated efforts, high cost of registration, and difficulty in differentiating between genuine and pirated books among others; Informants suggested: revision of the existing laws, introduction of security features for books and strengthening enforcement among other strategies to mitigate challenges being faced. The study concludes that: different forms of book piracy are indeed practiced in Uganda, and that the efforts are being undertaken to avert the practice. However, the efforts including the punitive actions are not sufficient and hence not thwarting book piracy. The limitations are a result of a combination of factors from the enforcement agencies, the legal regime and the stakeholders involved. Recommendations: A call for the revision of the existing legal framework; adoption and promotion of security features; restructuring of the copyright registration process; establishment of a Copyright Tribunal; regulation of the book sector; establishment of culture fund; adoption of technology to promote copyright and fight book piracy; education and training on IP in secondary and higher institutions of learning; intensified sensitization programmes to all stakeholders; and formation of linkages and alliances with research and development institutions, innovators and other regional players.