Summary of the Copyright Act, No. 12 of 2001


This Act provides copyright protection for literary, musical and artistic works, audio-visual works, sound recordings and broadcasts. It establishes the Kenya Copyright Board. The Board’s main functions include, directing, co-ordinate and overseeing the implementation of laws and international treaties and conventions to which Kenya is a party and which relate to copyright and other rights recognised by this Act and ensure the observance thereof.

The Act outlaws certain activities that in their effect promote counterfeiting of copyrighted materials. For instance, under the Act it is a civil wrong to import pirated copies. It is also wrong to circumvent technological devices used to protect copyright rights, remove or alter electronic rights management systems and to distribute, import and broadcast copyright works without the consent of the owner. The remedies provided for under the Act include damages, injunction, and delivery up. The Act also provides for Anton Pillar orders to secure evidence before it is hidden or destroyed by the accused party.

Inspectors who have powers to enter premises, ship or aircraft to ascertain whether any infringement of the law is being committed therein enforce the Act. Police officers and officers of the board also have powers of arrest under the Act. Prosecution of cases filed in respect to crimes in committed in contravention of the Act is governed by the Criminal Procedure Code, and may be conducted by a public prosecutor or the Board.