The Copyright (Amendment) Bill that was recently signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta is a big win for artists and will see them earn increased revenue in a new revenue-sharing formula.
Artists will now receive 52 percent of the revenue generated from their art compared to the previous 16 percent while 25 percent and 51 percent went to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and mobile phone operators, respectively.
Section 30(c) of the new Copyright law provides that “premium rate service provider shall be entitled to 8.5%; telecommunication operator 39.5%; and the artist or owner of the copyright shall be entitled to not less than 52% of the revenue”.
Rinback tunes popularly referred to as Skiza tunes is a service that allows mobile users to entertain their callers with personalised ringback tunes.
The Bill also prohibits service providers from unveiling personal information on subscribers thought to be engaging in content infringement.
The bill sponsored by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, was passed by MPs in February.
Ezekiel Mutua, who was recently appointed as CEO of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has said the new copyright Bill will make musicians “billionaires”.
“Thank you President Uhuru Kenyatta for the gift to Kenyan musicians. With the signing of the Copyright (Amendment) Bill into law, a new revenue sharing formula tilted in favour of copyright owners comes into place. I said there will be billionaires in this industry! ” Ezekiel Mutua.
Kenya introduced copyright legislation in 2001 that provided the framework for the establishment of a national Copyright Board, which is entrusted with the implementation and monitoring of the law.
The Act makes provision for copyright in literary, musical and artistic works, audio-visual works, sound recordings, broadcasts and for connected purposes .
Kenya has one of the most diverse music industries but its full potential is yet to be harnessed, we can only hope that the current focus marks a new damn for the industry.