President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that digital platforms be licensed by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), raising prospects of higher royalties to content producers.
Mr Kenyatta also ordered telecommunication firms and media companies to channel payments of royalties to the three collective management organisations (CMO) “in order to ensure compensation for all generators of the works.”
The CMOs include Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK).
“Content Service Providers who work with digital platforms such as Skiza and Viusasa, will be eliminated because they sit outside the CMOs,” President Uhuru said. “My practical direction on this is to have all rights holders register on the National Rights Registry”.
He ordered the Kenya Copyrights Board to gazette new tariffs in within 30 days and ensure that public service vehicles, the hospitality industry, and broadcasters apply them.
“These new measures will see the rise of tariffs collected and will create immense savings on the processes of collecting royalties,” said Mr Kenyatta.
“It is estimated that the new system will see an increase in collections from a previous Sh200m per year to an estimated Sh2 billion per year, a tenfold increase.”
The CMOs, licenced by copyright body, are betting on the new directive to collect royalties from Safaricom. In 2016, artistes won a court case that stopped the CMOs from entering into an agreement with Safaricom over the Skiza royalties.
“When you take music for example to Skiza, the person who gets paid is the person seen maybe on the cover, however there are people who have also contributed to it. So payment for rights of producer or composer are not considered,” KAMP Chairman Anthony Karani said during the announcement of Sh8 million royalties distribution to sound recordings and music producers.
A total of Sh33 million in royalties has been paid out through the scientific royalty distribution between August 2019 to January 2020 to 1,085 members inclusive of record labels and individual producers.
To improve the collection and distribution system, the Minisry of ICT, KECOBO and the CMOs will open received tenders on January 18 on supply of a distribution system that will monitor and increase transparency in the collection of royalties.