Safaricom enjoined in Skiza Tunes royalties case

Safaricom has been enjoined in two cases between artistes and Collection Money Organisation (CMOs) over the payment of Skiza Tune royalties.

Judges Asike Makhandia, William Ouko and Kathurima M’Inoti sitting in Malindi ordered Safaricom Ltd to file a replying affidavit within 10 days, in cases seeking to overturn High Court orders that restrained Safaricom from remitting Skiza Tunes royalties to CMOs.

Last year, Justice Said Chitembwe issued an order that declared the agreement between Safaricom and CMOs unlawful since it lacks public participation and infringes artists’ constitutional rights.

Earlier, Safaricom Ltd used to pay the Skiza Tune royalties to CMOs, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) and Kenya Association of Music Producers (Kamp), who then paid the artistes.

While adjourning the case on Monday, the judges noted that Safaricom Ltd had not filed response in both petitions until when new development came up and they now wish to file replies.

“Secondly, two other cases with similar bearing appealed in Malindi was transferred to Nairobi when this court was not sitting and it has not been remitted back,” he said adding that “the cases shall now be transferred from Nairobi to Malindi for disposal.”

The judges also ordered the Premium Rate Service Providers (PRSPs), artistes, MCSK, PRISK, Kamp, Safaricom Ltd the Attorney General who are the petitioners and respondents to file a 10 page replying affidavits within 14 days in order for the court to highlight the submissions on priority basis.

This was after a heated debate among lawyers representing both the petitioners and respondents, with MCSK and Safaricom Ltd demanding for an adjournment to file replying affidavit.

The judges sought to establish why the petition appeal was filed at Malindi yet most of the petitioners and respondents are based in Nairobi, where some applications were transferred to.

Christine Kipsang, a lawyer representing some of the artistes informed court that Safaricom Ltd now pays Skiza tune royalties directly to artistes themselves after the High court prevented CMOs from receiving Skiza tune royalties.

In addition, Albert Gicheru, the MCSK National Chairman told court a similar case was ongoing at Nairobi High Court when some artistes maliciously proceeded to Malindi to obtain orders to derail the process.

various secular and religious music artistes  including Daddy Owen also attended the court session.

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