Shame on Techdirt for Misleading Article on Kenya’s Proposed Copyright Law on ISP Liability


In a recent article on the popular website, Techdirt the first line reads: “we learn of a new proposed copyright law in Kenya that not only would be a disaster for the internet in that country, but where the people pushing it [Edward Sigei of Kenya Copyright Board] don’t even seem to understand what they’re talking about. The key element: forcing ISPs to be copyright cops and putting liability on them if they somehow fail to magically stop piracy.”

This blogger is shocked that Techdirt would recklessly publish a piece that tarnishes an entire country’s image and defames a senior copyright expert merely on the basis of one sketchy news article without doing any form of fact-checking or independent research.

After publishing its misinformed and factually incorrect article, Techdirt then attempts to display some modicum of integrity by later posting an “update” where it provides a link to this blog’s article on the same proposed copyright amendments on ISP liability with the following statement: “a copy of the actual text of the law has been released and it does appear to more closely track with the safe harbor protections for ISPs. That is, the claims made by the copyright bureaucrat above that it’s about making ISPs liable was misleading… The rest of the post stands however.” Techdirt also posts a similar update in its comments section which reads: “Added an update. It appears that the claims made by the copyright bureaucrat were misleading and the law does, in fact, include *protections against liability* for ISPs, rather than making them more liable, as was initially claimed…”

This article by Techdirt is extremely misleading with no evidence of any fact-checking, except the guy on twitter who is cited as the source for both the link to the news article and the update (which incidentally came after I corrected the guy on twitter – see here)

Readers of IP Kenya will know that this is not the first time that Techdirt has tried to discredit Kenya’s legislative reforms in the area of intellectual property (IP). In an earlier post here, this blogger made reference to previous articles by Techdirt including one titled: “Why Kenya’s Attempt To Put Intellectual Property Rights In Its Constitution Is A Mistake” which suggested that entrenching IP rights into our Constitution made “little sense” and amounted to “blatant protectionism”.

Moral of the story: Shame on you, Techdirt.

Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of this post, this comment by “Research Department, Herman Speaking” was wrongly attributed to Techdirt. Thus, we have deleted it in paragraph 4 above. The rest of the post stands however.

10 thoughts on “Shame on Techdirt for Misleading Article on Kenya’s Proposed Copyright Law on ISP Liability

  1. Shame indeed. I expected more from Mike Masnick and Techdirt.

    Three things:

    1. The tone and approach of techdirt’s piece is condescending, biased and reeks of a false sense of intellectual superiority. Mike and Techdirt have been writing for way too long not to know that sometimes a balanced, nuanced approach is best, especially when you don’t have all the facts and sources first-hand.

    2. Journos don’t understand IP and always seem to get stuff wrong when reporting on IP so why would Techdirt choose to base their entire article on one journo’s understanding of Sigei’s remarks on ISP liability? Techdirt can’t simply blame everything on the journos when Techdirt itself did not do any research/fact-checking of its own to begin with!

    3. The so-called ‘update’ posted by Techdirt is done almost as a ‘by the way’ yet the update itself contradicts the entire article. The ‘update’ which links to the IP KENYA post clearly shows that KECOBO borrowed some aspects of its proposals from the DMCA. Why not talk about the pros and cons of borrowing from the DMCA rather than implying that KECOBO is incompetent?

  2. Last I checked, “mistake” is no defence against defamation.

    Does anyone know whether Edward Sigei is taking legal action against Techdirt? He should, I know I would.

  3. Masnick is obviously an egotistical snarky blowhard who annotates & editorializes in every article and shows nothing but contempt for anyone interested in protecting intellectual property rights since no one will ever find anything he has created worthy of stealing…

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