How KOPIKEN Safeguards Publishers’ Rights to Earn from their Works
Interview with Kopiken General Manager Mr Gerry
Q: What is KOPIKEN?
A: Kopiken is the Reproduction Rights Society of Kenya. It is a
Collecting Society, under the Copyright Act 2001, which licenses
the reproduction of copyright-protected materials against payment
of fees whenever it is impractical for rightsholders (authors and
publishers) to license and collect fees individually.
Q: What is the role of KOPIKEN as a Collective
Management Organisation (CMO)?
A: Kopiken licenses reprographic reproduction (photocopying
and similar means) and digital reproduction of published copyright
protected works. is includes the reproduction of books,
magazines, newspapers, photographs, illustrations, art work, sheet
music etc.
Any institution, organization or photocopy bureau/copyshop
is obligated by the copyright laws to take up a copyright works
reproduction license with Kopiken - the Reproduction Rights
Society of Kenya. is is because not doing so means that the
reproduction is unauthorized by the copyright owners (authors
and publishers) and is, therefore, illegal. e Act lays out penalties
for such illegal reproduction, and these include hey nes, jail
terms, damages, injunctions as well as seizure of equipment used to
reproduce and the reproductions themselves.
e Kopiken licence gives students and employees the right to
make photocopies, printouts and digital copies without tracing the
rightsholders and obtaining their permission.
Once licensed, one may:
Make photocopies from books, newspapers and magazines,
journals etc.
Scan and digitally store printed material.
Copy and store digital material on Learning Management
Systems, on single computers, memory sticks, etc.
Store and use digital material on screens and digital boards.
Send material by e-mail to students at your institution.
Q: Who are your members?
A: Kopiken represents rightholders that include;
(i) Authors (creators of works)
Kopiken represents them through their respective association
which include;
KENFAA – Kenya Non Fiction Authors Association;
Writers Association of Kenya (WAK);
Kenya Oral Literature Association (KOLA);
Kenya Union of journalists (KUJ);
(ii) Artists & Visual Creators
Kopiken represents this group through their Association,
Kenya Association of Photographers Illustrators & Designers
(iii) Song lyricists & writers of sheet music
(iv) Publishers: We represent publishers through the Kenya
Publishers Association (KPA).
(v) International Right holders
Kenya is a signatory to e Berne Convention for the
Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, an international
agreement governing copyright. Kopiken in pursuant to this
principle, protects foreign works in Kenya as it protects local
works. However, it has gone a step further in signing bilateral
agreements with other countries / collecting organizations to
ensure that the mandates are solid. It has Bilateral agreements
with the following countries so far; Authors Licensing
Collecting Society – UK, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, New
Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Tanzania, India, Mauritius,
Nigeria, Norway, Korea, Uganda and Malawi.
Q: Who should pay your licenses?
A: Any institution, organization or photocopy bureau/copyshop
is obligated by the relevant copyright laws to take up a copyright
works reproduction license with Kopiken.
Q: How do you collect royalties?
A: Kopiken is empowered by its member associations to negotiate
and conclude collective agreements on photocopying and digital
uses of copyright protected works in all areas of society.
i) Current License Fees per Copyshop/per year:
Categories Amount
3 in 1 small Size Oce printer/scanner/copier KSh. 2,000 only
1 to 2 normal size copiers KSh. 4,000 only
3 to 5 normal size copiers KSh. 5,500 only
6 to 10 normal size copiers KSh. 7,500 only
11 and above normal size copiers KSh. 10,500 only
Q: In your opinion what are the challenges facing the
publishing industry and how can they be resolved for
the benefit of authors?
A: Piracy continues to be a great challenge to the industry. e
Kenya Copyright Board together with key stakeholders in the
industry have been at the forefront in meeting the perpetrators head
on. is will continue as the government and stakeholders continue
to pile pressure on those engaged in these illegal activities.
KOPIKEN General Manager, Mr. Gerry Gitonga