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Adherence to Copyright Obligations by Licensed Service Providers

13 January 2020
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Recently, the Communications Authority of Kenya (“Authority”) and the Kenya Copyright Board (“KECOBO”) published a joint notice compelling broadcast service providers and telecommunications content service providers to adhere to copyright obligations (the “Notice”).

The Notice is in tandem with provisions of the Kenya Information and Communications Act, which places responsibility on licensed service providers to heed copyright and neighbouring rights in respect of any work or material. It also effects the provisions of the newly enacted Copyright (Amendment) Act 2019.

Licensees are now responsible for all obligations and liabilities to any third party associated with copyrights (or other rights) arising from the broadcast and/or distribution of copyrighted content. Further, before broadcasting and/or distributing copyrighted material, the licensees are expected to have negotiated and agreed upon legal contracts with copyright licensing bodies.

The Notice requires licensees to furnish the Authority with documentary evidence on the payment of music or any other royalties by 29 November 2019. This requirement does not conflict with the existing structures under the Copyright Act where KECOBO is mandated with administering and enforcing all matters of copyright and related rights. The Authority is mainly interested in confirming that licensees have met their copyright obligations in accordance with their licence conditions. Therefore, it befits broadcast service providers and telecommunications content service providers to ensure that they have complied with the requirements and filed the necessary evidence.

Ultimately, the Authority will organize sensitisation forums on the foregoing.