Vision Group summoned over law suit over copyright infringement

Vision Group summoned over law suit over copyright infringement

Court has summoned New Vision Printing and Publishing Company Limited to file their defence in regard to a law suit filed by Daily Monitor photojournalist Alex Esagala, alleging copyright infringement.

In the case, Esagala is claiming that Vision Group did not get the authority to publish one of his images in its Luganda paper the Bukedde.

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In a February 10 document, the Registrar at the Commercial Division of the High Court said that Esagala instituted a case against Vision Group.

“You are hereby required to file a defence in the said suit within fifteen days from the date of service of summons on you in the manner prescribed under the Civil Procedure Rules. Should you fail to file a defence on or before the date mentioned, the plaintiff may proceed with the suit and judgment may be given in your absence,” reads the court document.

In the lawsuit filed on, December 18, 2019,  seeks a total Shs400m in damages and compensation arising from the infringement of copyright being usage fees, damages from the date of publication of the photography until full settlement of the suit and costs.

Esagala, through his lawyers of Kaggwa and Kaggwa Advocates, says on the November 25 2019, the Vision Group through its local dialect newspaper Bukedde published on page 18 the same photograph on almost half a page without accrediting or seeking the consent of the Plaintiff yet it was a special report on how to overcome strikes in universities.

Through his lawyers, the popular photojournalist late last month asked the company to pay usage fees and damages of Shs400m a request Esagala says officials at Vision Group just ignored up to now.

Lawyers say the defendant [Vision Group] with impunity neglected to acknowledge the works of the Plaintiff [Esagala] up to date while continuing to enjoy a benefit at the exploitation and detriment of the Plaintiff as the author of the photograph.

Esagala contends that in the circumstances, the Vision Group is liable to pay the said sum of money and has no defence to the claim whatsoever either at law or at all.

The photo that is a subject of this suit won the photo of the year at the Uganda Press Photo Awards in 2018, an event that was sponsored by the European Union, Canon, Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) and the United States Embassy in Uganda.

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