Uganda commission announces new film licensing framework

Video piracy store. (Image source: Alexander Klink/Wikimedia Commons)Video piracy store. (Image source: Alexander Klink/Wikimedia Commons)The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has developed a licensing framework for the distribution and exhibition of films and video works in Uganda

The move by UCC is an effort to tap into the lucrative industry which has a lot of potential for growth both in terms of creating jobs and as a source of revenue.
"Our objective is to create viable structures for the film industry that is able to inspire confidence in investors and players as well as respond confidently to formal economic indicators and incentives," the UCC stated.

UCC, the country's regulatory body of the communication industry, said that "there are unclear distribution channels of films and there exists unlicensed video libraries, movies are being sold in the street, roadsides, mobile vans and hawkers among others which promote piracy, erosion of morals, loss to the video/cinema hall owners and there is no value for money to the producers and consumers since the films are duplicated."

It added that "there is need to structure and license the distribution channels and need for coordination based on the fundamental legal instrumental censorship of contents and licensing of distribution, exhibition and their business premises."

The regulatory body said the film industry in Uganda is still at a nascent stage of development compared to some African countries like Nigeria (Nollywood), Kenya (Riverwood) and generally the western world.

It attributed this poor development to a number of factors but not limited to poor enforcement of copyright laws, lack of clear guidelines on classification and licensing, piracy, poor management of the distribution and exhibition channel and weak regulation.

"These issues are a hindrance to the development of the film industry," the UCC noted.

"Uganda is lagging behind with no clear structures to date in the film industry in the region. Although there seems to be lack of professionalism in the industry, available statistics indicate that there is a lot of potential for growth.

"This licensing framework is the first step by government to initiate critical steps of design, developing processes, standards as well as benchmarking the creative industries in Uganda with its contemporaries in other parts of the world with the purpose of reaping from global revenue potential."

The commission said that the licensing framework will be implemented in tandem with the regulatory developments based on the UCC Act, 2013.

 

Geoffrey Muleme

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