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Music Copyright Society loses licence to collect royalties

The Music Copyright Society of Kenya has lost the licence to collect music royalties.

This follows the decision by the board of directors of Kenya Copyright Board on Monday to approve the licensing of a new body, Music Publishers Association of Kenya Limited, to collect royalties on behalf of authors, composers and publishers from March 2017 to February 2018, effective immediately.

“The decision was made after the new association satisfied the requirements of Section 46 of the Copyright Act, 2001, and Regulation 15 and 16 of the Copyright Regulations 2004,” read a statement from Kecobo sent to newsrooms.

This means that the embattled MCSK will have to wait for a year to apply for the license. The organisation has been embroiled in controversy with artistes who accuse it of never remitting monies collected for years.

MCSK’s boss Maurice Okoth was suspended in March last year over corruption claims though he was later acquitted.

The copyright board revoked MCSK’s license in February after its officials failed to submit their audited financial statements and amounts paid in royalties to their members.

Edward Sigei, Kenya Copyright Board executive director, said at the time that MCSK had failed to submit the financial statement despite having been given a grace period of three months to do so.

REJECTED APPLICATION

The documents are compulsory to determine the suitability to function as a collecting society in line with the copyright laws of Kenya.

“The board rejected the application for renewal by MCSK after it failed to fulfil conditions attached to its last license amongst other reasons,” read the statement.

Another application rejected alongside MCSK was that of National Music Copyright Society which the board said failed to demonstrate its capacity to roll out collection if granted a license.

The Kenya Copyright Board is a State corporation under the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice which is mandated with the administration and enforcement of copyright and related rights.

Its board is responsible for organising legislation on copyright and related rights; conducting training programmes on copyright and related rights; enlightening and informing the public on matters related to copyright; licensing and supervising the activities of collective management societies; and maintaining an effective data bank on authors and their works.

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