As Public Relations practitioners (PRO), we are often the face of the companies and brands we represent. And in the line of duty, we issue a lot of communication directives on behalf of our clients to the media and the public.
What happens when in your operations as a PRO, a recording of your speech is adapted and used for publicity as an advert by a network without your consent?
It is clearly your voice they are using and making money off it right? Well, your first thought is to call up a lawyer and seek some legal redress.
That lawyer may mention something about copyright law and how it protects intellectual property.
Clearly this company has stolen and unjustly profited from your speech being issued to the public. We would not be surprised if you started seeing dollar signs in anticipation of a major payday.
But not so fast, jurisprudence is a terrain that very few know how to navigate let alone win. Your lawyer might make you aware that Martin Luther King’s, I have a dream speech was subject to a copyright dispute and the ruling was in the deceased’s favor. Where the judgment handed down stated; “The author is the creator or the person who gives life or the composer and without whom the work would not exist.” This is a perfect consolation to your ears and your lawyer upright? Wrong very very wrong.
The first thing you should do when you hear the term copyright is looking it up and register for it immediately lucky for you, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau is willing to handle this on your behalf (at a fee of course) and after 60 days of publication in the Uganda Gazette, this might give you a fighting chance.
You may not receive all those dollars dancing around in your eyes, but you might be able to stop the media house or network from unjustly enriching themselves from your recordings because they rendered it into a tangible form.
As a PRO or a public official please get copyright protection as in the case of Al Hajji Nasser Ntege vs MTN proves that; it’s not just an artist and writer’s affair anymore.