Blind Opposition to Caller Ringtone Deal between Safaricom and Collecting Societies: High Court Case of Irene Mutisya & Anor v. MCSK & Anor

Robert Collymore CEO Safaricom

This blogger has recently come across Nairobi High Court Civil Case No. 262 of 2015 Irene Mutisya & Anor v. Music Copyright Society of Kenya & Anor. In this case Mutisya and another copyright owner Masivo have filed suit against Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) and mobile network operator Safaricom Limited for copyright infringement. The copyright owners filed an urgent application on 30th July 2015 for a temporary injunction to restrain Safaricom from remitting license fees to MCSK pursuant to a recently concluded license agreement for caller ring-back tones (CRBT) made available through Safaricom’s Skiza platform. The copyright owners also asked the court to restrain both Safaricom and MCSK from implementing the CRBT License Agreement pending the hearing of the application.

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High Court Affirms Role of Collecting Society in Copyright Enforcement: Case of Ruma Lodge v. MCSK

This blogger has recently come across a recent judgment of the High Court in the case of Maurice Owino Onyango v Music Copyright Society of Kenya [2015] eKLR. In this case, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), the sole collecting society or collective management organisation (CMO) for authors, composers and publishers of musical works, was the respondent in an appeal in the High Court challenging the decision of the Magistrates’ Court in a case filed against MCSK for malicious prosecution. Majanja J sitting in the High Court found in favour of the CMO and upheld the judgment of the lower court.

A copy of the judgment is available here.

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Court Rules Public Performance and Communication to the Public Licenses Are Distinct Under Copyright

nairobi pacific hotels

On February 14, 2014 in the case of Nairobi Pacific Hotel vs KAMP & PRISK CMCC 7240 of 2013, the court dismissed an application filed by Nairobi Pacific Hotel seeking a grant of temporary injunction to restrain the Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) and the Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRiSK) from collecting fees with respect to their jointly-issued Communication to the Public license. A copy of the ruling is available here.

This court ruling creates an important precedent that a Public Performance License from the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) is not sufficient for the protection of the rights of performers and producers represented by PRiSK and KAMP, respectively. In making its ruling, the court noted that KAMP and PRiSK are collective management organisations (CMOs) duly licensed by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) to collect license fees from the users who broadcast or communicate sound recordings and audiovisual works to the public.

PRiSK KAMP Communication to the Public CTP license tariffs

Read the full article here.

Copyright Infringement: Kayamba Africa Faces Kshs 1 Million Suit

The Star reports that a band by the name of Webuye Jua Kali has served Kayamba Africa with a Demand Letter in respect of alleged copyright infringement.

The renowned Kayamba Africa group is accused of publicly performing two of Webuye Jua Kali’s songs “Mulongo” and “My Dear” without the latter’s authority or permission.

Webuye Jua Kali will most likely be grounding its suit on Section 30 of the Copyright Act which reads in part:

30. (1) No person shall do any of the following acts without the authorization of the performer –
(b) communicate to the public his performance except where the communication (is) authorized by the performer

In section 2(1) of the Act, communication to the public is defined as:
(a) a live performance; or
(b) a transmission to the public, other than a broadcast, of the images or sounds or both, of a work, performance or sound recording;

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