Hotel Owners, Uganda Performing Rights Society Clash Over Royalties

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In short
Harriet Katushabe, the Director Satellite Hotel, says last year, officials from UPRS raided her hotel in the company of bouncers and police officers and confiscated her music system and television sets without any justifiable cause. She says they were slapped with hefty fines in disregard of the status of the hotel.

A row is brewing between Uganda Hotel Owners' Association and Uganda Performing Rights Society over the collection of royalties on behalf of music artists. The 2006 Copyright act mandates Uganda Performing Rights Society-UPRS to collect royalties from commercial and other users of specific works of artists specified under the act.
 
UPRS has come under sharp criticism particularly from the hotel sector over what they call crude methods of collecting the royalties and exorbitant amounts charged. Hotel owners say many of them are ambushed during the peak hours and their equipment confiscated without prior notice. Satellite Hotel in Kisaasi in Kampala is one of the hotels that have suffered the wrath of the UPRS.
 
 
Harriet Katushabe, the Director Satellite Hotel, says last year, officials from UPRS raided her hotel in the company of bouncers and police officers and confiscated her music system and television sets without any justifiable cause. She says they were slapped with hefty fines in disregard of the status of the hotel.


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She says she was charged Shillings 2.25 million Shillings, which she found exorbitant. Katushabe says last year she was billed Shillings 750,000 and wonders how the rates shot up, yet her hotel still remains the same. Jean Byamugisha, the Executive Director, Uganda Hotel Owners' Association, says the members of the Uganda Performing Right s Society are not any different from thugs.

 
She says as an umbrella association of Hotel Owners, they have received several complaints from members who have been harassed by the UPRS members. Byamugisha says right from the inception, the hotels were never consulted on the payment of royalties.
 
 
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Byamugisha also wonders why hotels are being charged for pay television channels, which they are already paying for. She wonders why a private entity is charged with the responsibility of determining rates, which are prone to abuse;


 
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She wants government to intervene to protect the hoteliers from unfair expenses, which are likely to kill their businesses. James Wasula, the Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Performing Rights Society denies the allegations of brutality leveled against his team. According to Wasula, they issue notices to the different stakeholders before they resort to forceful enforcement.

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He also denied allegations of imposing exorbitant rates against hotels, saying they on revised the rates in 2016.
 
 
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So far this year, a total of 125 users have paid the royalty fees. These include Hotels, Broadcasters, Discotheques and other commercial facilities.
 

 

Tagged with: copy right industry hotels