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Kenya Business News

Attorney-General Githu Muigai proposed amendments to the Kenya Copyright Act 2001

Kenya’s AG, Prof Muigai, has proposed amendments to the Kenya Copyright Act 2001 (No 12 of 2001) by inserting a new clause (30A) which now gives music producers the right to claim and equitably share remuneration for sound recordings and visual works among themselves. The proposed amendments will now provide the producers and performers  a legal backing to engage their respective management organisations — the Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) and the performers’ society — to collect royalties on their behalf.

Previously, the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) collected royalties on behalf of composers and singers and left out the bulk of producers and acoustic players however, “The new law will put Kenya at par with international best practice and introduce this right which I would say is an advantage to all users of music  as they can now play what they want to play without any restrictions as before,” says Angela Ndambuki,  the chief executive officer at the Performers Rights Society of Kenya.

This means that radio and television stations or any other music users — such as restaurants and bars — will now have to pay producers or performers of a particular music separately and on an agreed equitable ration.“If a sound recording is published for commercial purposes or a reproduction of such recording is used directly for broadcast or other communication to the public performed, a single equitable remuneration for the performer and the producer of the sound recording shall be paid by the user through their respective collecting management organisation,” said Prof Muigai in the latest Kenya Gazette Supplement.

The move is also set to eliminate the need by broadcasters to seek permission – as has been the case – before using the music on CDs.

The Copyright Act section 46 has also given MCSK the right to collect copyright royalties on behalf of music composers from radio and television stations among other users. KAMP and PRSK have  signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will see them jointly collect the royalties.“We had signed an agreement with MCSK to jointly collect  royalties but there was a disagreement; now we will be doing it jointly with KAMP to eliminate sending three different categories of invoices to the music users,” said Ms Ndambuki.

In 2011, MCSK unveiled a software that tracks all songs played by broadcasters in a move it said was aimed at boosting earnings of top artistes although there was a risk that this would hurt the income of upcoming musicians. The electronic log replaced the use of manual logs submitted by broadcasters, ending the payment of a flat rate to musicians.
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