Sebaggala appeals MTN caller tune case


Former Kampala Mayor Nasser Ssebagala has appealed a court ruling in which he was ordered to pay MTN Uganda and SMS media Uganda after losing the case.

He had sued the two entities for using his voice as a ringtone on the mobile telephone network.

In his appeal, Sebaggala claims that the trial judge erred in law and fact when he attributed authorship of his literary works to SMS media limited and departing them  from their pleadings with respect to their characterization of his works as being constituted of speeches.

Last year Justice Christopher Madrama of the Commercial court noted that Sebaggala was not the author of the work and therefore did not need protection under the copyright law and that he did not agree to performance rights. Which meant that he could not be classified as a Performer.  Otherwise courts would be filled with cases of celebrities for every utterance they make.

“An interview with the media is not a private conversation; you cannot control how the recording was going to be used. Copyright in voice recording serves producers and Sebaggala did not give instructions on how his speech would to be used.  He freely gave his answers for the consumption of the public and his words were not twisted. The author of the works has moral rights and the owner of the works has economic rights and the two can be merged,” Justice Madrama ruled then adding “Sebaggala cannot be the author to work he did not consent to and cannot prove the use of his voice was injurious to his character.”

In the case filed before Court of Appeal Kampala, Sebaggala also claims that the judge erred when he held that he was not the performer in the ringtones and thereby had no legal rights as such and that MTN was not unjustly enriched at his expense.

He now wants the court to set aside the judgment from the Commercial Court as entered in terms that were sought in his case. He also wants costs to be awarded to him.

Mr Sebaggala wanted MTN Uganda and SMS Media to pay him Shs8 billion from the proceeds of using his ringtone for which he claimed copyright.

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