Copyright News
By Francis Muchina,
ow more than ever, digi-
tal platforms are giving
creatives a voice in Kenya,
specifically those in the
audio-visual sector, through local
and international platforms of down
load & streaming. Creatives are one
piece of legislation and several pol
icy documents away from financial
liberation, through monetisation of
their copyright.
Notable and commendable oppor-
tunities to the future of copyright
in music, brought about by The
Copyright Amendment Bill (2017) are;
a possible solution to menace of piracy
in Kenya, a solution on infringements
and third party liability and a solution
to the royalty collection challenge, by
introducing a system of checks, bal-
ances and a necessary extension of
mandate of oversight to these col-
lective bodies.
For many years, the most
attractive type of right to be
monetised by a songwriter has
been the right of performance.
Copyright, being one of the
Intellectual Property Rights that
govern the audio-visual sec-
tor, is a right that is under the
mandate of The Kenya Copyright
Board. So, how can copyright
be monetised alongside perfor-
mance and production rights in a
musical works?
The amendment to
this legislation, when
passed, shall be impor-
tant to have and digest
as owners of copyright
specifically in the audio-
visual sector. Let’s put
this into perspective.
In a musical
works, copyright is
held by the song-
writer, composer,
arranger, track-
producer and publish-
er. In Kenya, there are several ways
in which a copyright holder can use
their copyright to create several rev-
enue streams from one piece of work.
A song writer being a copyright
holder may decide to register copy
right to their work at the Kenya
Copyright Board for a fee of Sh1,000,
to ensure proof of ownership and
prioritised protection in law, if ever
an ownership dispute occurred dur
ing, before or after licensing the
musical work.
The musical work is eligible for
registration at the licensed copy
right collecting royalty body, Music
Publishers Association of Kenya
(MPAKE), where the copyright hold
er would be entitled to collect roy-
alty payments.
The Collective Management
Organisations (CMOs), in the past,
have had challenges with the collec-
tion of royalties from the heavi-
est users of musical works, the
broadcasters, who haven’t been
supplying CMOs with broadcast
logs therefore denying copy-
right holders their rightful roy-
alties for heavy exploitation of
their copyright through advertise-
ments. This matter ended up in
court. However, the matter will be
addressed by the 2017 Copyright
Amendment Bill.
The Bill has touched on the
management of CMOs and looks
to streamline the once messy
affair of royalty collec-
tion, by giving KECOBO
more authority and
mandate over running
and management of the
CMOs. The importance
to a musical work is for
accountability and
transparency in mon-
etisation of copyright
through royalties.
there is commend-
able progress as well.
The three licensed CMOs in the
music industry- MPAKE, KAMP and
PRISK- signed an MOU in 2017 and
are collecting license fees from users
of music, jointly, via a web-portal
integrated with mobile money. This
will prove to be more cost effective
and transparent for audit by KECOBO.
The musical works are also eligible
for further multiplicity of copyright
monetisation through internation
al and local digital music platforms
that offer downloads and stream
ing. These are the likes of I-Tunes,
Spotify, Youtube, Songamusic by
Safaricom, Mdundo, Safaricom
SKIZA and Boom play through Non-
exclusive Licensing Agreements.
Synchronisation in film, through
licensing the musical works either as
a background track or soundtrack can
also establish an alternative source
of revenue for the musical work. The
demand for locally produced audio-
visual content went up upon the dec-
laration of the National Music Policy,
which needs to be read together with
the film and intellectual property
policies, demanding a mandatory 40
per cent of all broadcast audio-visual
content, be those locally produced.
In conclusion, the challenges to
the opportunities lie in the phrase,
laws are good, as long as they can be
enforced.” Copyright holders, spe-
cifically those with musical works are
at a defining moment and stand a
chance to effectively and efficiently
monetise their copyright, which lasts
a maximum of 50 years after the death
of the copyright holder.
Copyright holders need to start
protecting their copyright and get
their musical works on digital plat-
forms as this will form the bulk of
consumption habits of music, lighting
the path to Kenya’s bright future of
copyright in music.
Mr Muchina is the Principal Consul-
tant, Frankwise Consult LTD.
Changing trends create new
opportunities for musicians