Proposed 2015 Intellectual Property Law Amendments: Kenya Copyright Act


Recently, the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 2) Bill, 2015 was published in Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 165 (Bills No. 58). The Bill seeks to one section of the Copyright Act, namely section 30(8). A copy of this Bill is available here (See pages 3229-3230). This proposed amendment inserts the following words at the end of the section: “and the compensation shall be collected by the Board and distributed to the respective copyright collecting society registered under section 46.”
According to the Memorandum of Objects and Reasons in the Bill, the proposed amendment to section 30(8) is intended to provide for structured compensation of performers and producers of sound recordings for private copying of works in line with international norms and practices.

In previous posts here and here, this blogger has mounted a two-pronged critique of a similar amendment to the one proposed above which was made to section 28(5) in the Statute Law Miscellaneous (Amendments) Bill, 2014. Firstly, this blogger questions the legality and practicality of empowering the Board to carry out the functions of collection and distribution of royalties, currently the reserve of collecting societies who are in turn regulated by KECOBO. Secondly, this blogger argues that the wordings of sections 28 and 30 excludes the copyright owners of musical works from the private copying levy system solely in favour of specific related rights holders, namely producers of sound recordings and performers.

However this blogger is pleased to learn that Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) in its latest proposed amendments to be submitted to Parliament has taken positive steps to correct the legal framework for collection and distribution of the private copying/ blank tape levy to the rightful beneficiaries. According to this blogger’s sources, the new proposed amendments to sections 28 and 30 empower KECOBO to designate a collecting society which will collect the levy and distribute it to the collecting societies.

This blogger will be following these legislative developments and keep readers updated.

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