10
Copyright News
By Howard Okiror
M
any inno-
cent
business
owners
who use copyright-
able content (audio or
audio visual) to woo
customers at their
business establish-
ments have fallen
prey to fake copy-
right enforcement
officers. These bogus
copyright enforce-
ment officers usually
approach business
owners in the com-
pany of police offi-
cers under the pretext that they either
represent local or foreign musicians
before proceeding to conduct copy-
right inspection.
In the process of conducting the in-
spection on laptop or computers with-
in the business premises, they end up
planting ‘evidence’ in the devices or
physically on the business premises.
ey later proceed to apprehend the in-
nocent business owner on the premise
that they are using the copyrightable
content for commercial gains without a
license or paying the requisite royalties.
Before the innocent business owner
is put behind bars and the “offence”
recorded in the occurrence book, the
fake copyright inspectors will try
to extort the victim by demanding
some money (usually from Sh20,000
upwards) for his/her freedom.
In the event the victim is unable
to pay up, he will be booked into a
police station and trumped up charges
preferred against them. When this
happens, usually the fake officers will
never attend court to prosecute the
alleged offence thereby resulting in
a complaint being addressed to the
Kenya Copyright Board requiring it to
either attend court and prosecute the
matter or withdraw it all together.
The Board has on many occa-
sions been castigated by magistrates
unfairly for failing to attend court to
prosecute matters that are burdened
upon innocent businessmen by the
extortionist.
It is important for members of the
public to note that the Board has both
Copyright Inspectors and Prosecutors
who are appointed pursuant to Sec 39
and 43 respectively of the Copyright
Act. The Copyright inspectors are
mandated by law to conduct inspec-
tions and undertake investigations for
copyrights infringement offences.
The Copyright prosecutors like-
wise are mandated solely to pros-
ecute copyrights infringement related
offences that emanate from the Act.
Identification
Copyright is a personal right and
when the same is infringed, an indi-
vidual or organization can seek
redress either by directing a com-
plaint to the Board for investigations
and subsequent criminal prosecutions
or by filing civil proceedings against
the alleged perpetrators.
Any criminal proceedings com-
menced by an offended right holder
without engaging both the Copyright
Inspectors and Copyright Prosecutors
is done so un-procedurally and ought
to be withdrawn forthwith to avert an
injustice upon the accused person.
So how does an innocent business
owner or member of the public ascer-
tain whether an individual is a gazett-
ed copyright inspector? Two things
can be used to ascertain the authen-
ticity of a Copyright Inspector.
The first one is the Certificate
of Authority that is issued by the
Kenya Copyright Board. If an indi-
vidual produces the Certificate of
Authority, the credential can be cross
checked by keying the Identity Card
Number or Gazettement Number on
the M-tambua platform *611*2# and
select copyright inspector option.
If one is a genuine copyright
inspector, his name will appear on the
platform. If not a genuine officer, the
M-Tambua platform will alert you and
give you KECOBO’s hotline number
where you can call for further verifi-
cation or to report the incidence.
In case one falls victim to the extor-
tionist, he or she can reach the Board
on its hotline number 0703885033.
How to avoid falling prey
to fake Copyright inspectors