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NBS TV sues Al Jazeera over copyright infringement, demand Shs 4.7 bn in compensation

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Nile Broadcasting Services (NBS) Television, a flagship of Next Media Services has issued a notice to Doha – Qatar based broadcaster; Al Jazeera, demanding for an apology and $ 1.3 million (Shs 4.7 billion) over infringement and violation of its copyright.

In a letter dated January 19, 2021 that was issued by the NBS TV company secretary Obadia Ismail Otim, the management at NBS TV said that they have taken notice of the infringement and unauthorised use of their content in Al Jazeera’s news bulletin, which is illegal.

NBS says Al Jazeera didn’t acknowledge, give credit or recognize NBS Television Ltd as the source of the content, neither did it contain the trademark nor watermark of NBS TV.

“The bulletin, posted on the Al Jazeera English YouTube platform on the 16th day of January, 2021 dubbed” Uganda’s Museveni declared winner of presidential election”, (link attached) and an extract hereto attached, did not acknowledge, give credit or recognise NBS Television Limited as the source, neither did it contain the trademark nor watermark of NBS Television.” Obadia said in the letter.

Mr. Obadia adds that given the level of expertise and experience of Al Jazeera in the media industry, NBS TV expected the highest standards of journalistic ethics and professional practices that are internationally recognised by the media industry but to their dismay, NBS TV’s authorisation or approval was not sought.

“We believe that you need no lecture on the effect and consequence of unauthorised use of intellectual property, reproduction, and representation of legally protected business (content) and the fact that its not only illegal and unlawful, but also amounts to violation of the intellectual property rights under national and international laws,” the letter signed by NBS Company Secretary continues to read in part.

The letter also served a warning to Al Jazeera to desist from such practices in the future, bring down, delete or erase all content that belongs to NBS TV, write a letter of apology to the TV station and pay a ‘make good compensation for the infringement’ to the tune of $ 1,300,000.

“Should you fail to heed to this demand within a period of 14 days from the date of receipt of this notice, we shall be left with no option but to seek legal redress or institute legal proceedings against you at your own peril, and perpetual regret. We advise that you seek our authorisation in the future should the need to use our content arise,” the letter added.

NBS TV, also dubbed as the Political Command Centre had a 360 degree broadcast on the recently concluded presidential and parliamentary elections with a number of its reporters staged across all polling stations around the country.

By press time, Al Jazeera had not yet confirmed receipt or replied to NBS TV’s demands.

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