Both Kenya’s National Intellectual Property Offices now on Twitter

It’s been almost a year since Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), the national copyright office officially launched it’s twitter page, a move which was widely applauded. A twitter presence has allowed KECOBO to reach the wider public and spread awareness about copyright and related rights in Kenya. KECOBO has managed the account exceptionally well with almost daily tweets on activities, events, programmes and most importantly they have engaged with twitter users with queries, questions and complaints.
All in all, twitter has been an important platform for KECOBO to carry out its mandate of administering and enforcing copyright and related rights in Kenya.

Now, Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), the industrial property office has also launched its official twitter account. Follow KIPI: “@KIPIKenya”

IPKenya is happy that KIPI has finally embraced this important social media tool. Unlike KECOBO which enjoys a fair amount of mainstream media coverage for its enforcement actions and its supervision of collecting societies, KIPI has always been shrouded in mystery. That said, the recently launched KIPI website has allowed members of the public to learn more about KIPI, its mandate and its services. However KIPI’s events, activities and programs are not widely publicised which makes public participation and discussion difficult.
IPKenya hopes that KIPI will use twitter to freely communicate and engage with the public on issues of industrial property and other related IP matters so as to demystify them and encourage the public to taje advantage of the IP system.

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Music Copyright Society of Kenya MCSK Boss Finally Speaks Out

Over the past year, IPKenya has written several blogposts on the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), based primarily on credible information from the national Copyright Office (KECOBO), media reports as well as information from online sources.

IPKenya has always endeavoured to be balanced and fair in its appraisal of the fall-out between KECOBO and MCSK as well as the latter’s own tarnished public image.

Finally, the General Manager of MCSK, Mr. Maurice Okoth has decided to respond to IPKenya and present his side of the story.

Here are his comments:

“Following your post and comments. Bit of misunderstanding and thought perhaps to clear the air.

Firstly, yes court order allowed us to continue collecting license fees and distribute royalties.

Secondly, regulations and conditions for operation of Collective Management Organizations (CMO’s ) vividly set out in the Copyright Act. Also regulation on renewals of certificate of registration etc ..the JR filed basically was addressing these issues as it was our view that KECOBO did not adhere to the law while purportedly deregistering MCSK.

Thirdly, please refer to the law and if you do find provision requiring CMO’s to operate at 30 % admin expenses, please cite this provision of law (local or international laws). This is a creation of KECOBO and cannot thus be used as a legal argument.

Finally, how is it that MCSK is setting a bad precedent in Kenya ..?

Currently, I am in Sweden in part to share the experience and developments at MCSK.
We are one of the only countries that is effective with general rights licensing , also known as performances in public places. In this category of licensing, collections from public service vehicles forms a large part of the collection and again this is a unique scenario in the world and I, on behalf of MCSK, have been invited to several countries to especially share in how we are able to achieve this.

We are unique in another way: unlike most other CMOs, a larger percentage of our collections is from performances in public places (general rights), whereas most CMO’s collect a larger percentage from broadcasting, telecommunications etc ..where collection expenses are quite minimal. The deductions from each class of collections thus varies and as such for collections from broadcasters where minimal costs incurred, you would not need to deduct much admin costs etc ..but in the area of general rights, where the situation in Kenya demands that we have to actually go out to the field in a daily basis to collect the license fees..I would actually like to hear of an alternative way of collecting ..(and you can also refer to how kamp , prsk and even kopiken are collecting where they have also adopted our style..) ..
So I’m not sure what IPKenya means that MCSK is setting a bad example for the other CMOs in Kenya.

I have much more to share ..for example the KECOBO principle of 70-30 and what actually entails admin expenditure ..for example, when we invest in assets for the Society that will in future save on costs i.e. capital expenditure (capex), where then do you classify this ..what about depreciation on assets ..bank charges which rise as you pay more members through the bank …all admin expenditure right, IPKenya ..? What about when you hold seminars for members ..annual general meeting and you pay out fare to members ..? Admin expenditure right ..? What about when members pass on and we make contribution to the funeral etc… What about when members fall sick and we provide funds for medical treatment ..perhaps you should consult with KECOBO and see how they want us to treat these expenditures…and see the rationale for 70-30.

I am also part of an African Committee comprised of Collecting Societies (CMOs) within Africa and part of the International Confederation of Societies for Authors and Composers (CISAC) that has been appointed to look into the budgets for CMO’s and the preferred ratio for operating (rather the permissible expenditure) ..we should be presenting our paper at the next African committee meeting and I think this will now be the guiding principle in future…for now IPKenya, show me where KECOBO ascertained that we should operate at 70-30.”

IPKenya has already contacted Mr. Okoth to schedule a one-on-one interview to discuss the salient issues raised in his comments above.

In the meantime, the floor is yours. Kindly let me know via the comments box if you have any questions or issues you would want me to raise with the MCSK GM.