The New Face of Creative Commons in Kenya

Elizabeth Oyange By Rori! Comics for UnCommon Women, CC BY

The inaugural meeting of the Creative Commons (CC) Kenya Chapter was held on 25 July 2018. This meeting marked the transition of the CC community in Kenya into a CC Country Chapter. A key agenda item was the election of several officials to manage the affairs of the CC Kenya Chapter. As readers of this blog may know, the Creative Commons community in Kenya was previously organised using an ‘Affiliate’ model with two Leads, a Public Lead (based at CIPIT – Strathmore University) and a Legal Lead (based Kenya Law i.e. National Council for Law Reporting).

Under the new structure, the Creative Commons Global Network (CCGN) co-ordinates and provides leadership in the global CC movement. The Global Network Council (GNC) is the governing and decision-making body of the CCGN. It consists of elected representatives of all CC Country Chapters and representatives from CC HQ. CC Chapters serve as the central coordinators of the work of the individuals and institutions participating within a country in support of the CCGN. As such, all those interested in becoming members of CC must register here either as Network Members or Network Partners (for Institutions) and belong to a Country Chapter.

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Join Creative Commons Kenya Chapter: Meet-up This Friday 29/06 at CJ’s

CJ's Trip Moran DbIDeZ4XkAEtOQp

This Friday 29th June 08:00-09:00am you are all invited for an informal meet-up to discuss formally setting up the Creative Commons (CC) community in Kenya as a CC Chapter. As some may know, the CC Global Network is going through a restructuring process and the reorganisation of country teams into chapters is a part of this process. As such, CC would like to invite everyone interested to join this process. To this end, CC HQ has put together a toolkit to guide country teams through the process of setting up a chapter.

In the meantime, you are all invited to formally register as members of the CC Global Network by signing up at http://network.creativecommons.org.

Finally, feel free to connect on the CC Kenya WhatsApp group which you can join through this link: https://chat.whatsapp.com/4Eyf9KDh8Mq7dh5veOh7sn

To Photocopy or Not to Photocopy: The Role of the Reproduction Rights Society in Kenya

photocopier-lg

One of the local newspapers recently published an article titled: “Can’t someone stop this photocopying madness?”, which raises the alarm over high levels of illegal photocopying especially in tertiary institutions of learning, namely our universities. The writer explains:

We were taught in classes that photocopying a book without the requisite permission of the copyright holder would be against the law, except for the very strict exemptions made on the copyright page of the book. Yet at student centres and other photocopying areas in institutions of higher learning, the exact opposite of this lesson goes on in the open.
Students photocopy entire books. Some shop owners photocopy books in advance and store them for sale. With such scenarios, what does the student learn? That the lessons on copyright law are a mere hot air?

Recently, a news feature was published by Al Jazeera titled: “Photocopying courts India campus controversy” which was premised on the on-going Indian High Court case of Oxford University Press and Others vs Rameshwari Photocopy Services and Delhi University. In this case, Cambridge University Press (CUP), Oxford University Press (OUP) and Taylor & Francis, the three of the world’s largest publishers have filed a case in court seeking to stop the reproductions of their work into study packs and course packs for students.

Authors and publishers all over the world contend that they fully support free access to information. But they have come to realise that their contended principle of free flow of information must not be confused with the idea of the flow of free information. After all, books, journals, newspapers etc. cost money to produce and the same must apply to the right to reproduce them, particularly through photocopying. The only way authors and publishers have been able to deal with this situation has been through collective administration of rights. It is widely agreed that no single author or publisher can effectively police the use or abuse of its bundle of rights throughout a whole national territory let alone the world at large. Thus, collective administration is a solution devised to overcome the many difficulties which individuals authors and other rights holders face in the enforcement of their rights separately by themselves in the face of fast-growing technologies of the modern world.

In the case of reproduction rights, one of the practical, instrumental and utlity organs in the process of this collective administration is the reprographic rights organisation (RRO). Simply put, the RRO aims to deal with both unauthorised reproduction of copyright works for internal use as well as for the market place. This reproduction is dealt with through licensing. The RRO is therefore an intermediary organisation. It brings the rights holders in contact with the users. It facilitates understanding between the owners and users of copyright rights. Most importantly, it negotiates with, and grants licenses to the users to use the works of authors on the one hand; and on the other, it ensures that authors and publishers are justly remunerated for their works and investments.

This blogger believes that in both the Indian and Kenya scenarios highlighted in the media reports above, the RRO is clearly missing from the picture yet the latter plays an important role in striking the right balance between the rights of the copyright holders on the one hand, and the interests of the users on the other hand. This blogger is indeed surprised that the reprographic society in India (IRRO) has not sought to be enjoined in the Delhi University court case yet it is an interested party given the issues for determination by the judges in that case.

KOPIKEN Launch Collective Management Reproduction Rights Society of Kenya

Meanwhile, here in Kenya, we have the Reproduction Rights Society of Kenya (KOPIKEN) which is fully functional but seems not to have attained the critical mass in terms of licensees for reproduction of printed works yet all indications are that the photocopying business is booming in most urban centres countrywide. Regarding the universities in Kenya, this blogger would be correct in stating that over 95% of them are not licensed by KOPIKEN yet these institutions are actively engaged in photocopying both for internal use and also as indirect commercial activity.

Therefore, the time has come for KOPIKEN to assert itself on behalf of all the local and foreign authors, publishers and other rightsholders in the print medium whom they duly represent. Borrowing from the situation in India, this bloggers contends that time has come for KOPIKEN to consider litigation as a means of ensuring compliance with the copyright law, deterring infringers and creating jurisprudence in this silent area of the law. In respect to the last point of jurisprudence, litigation by KOPIKEN against one of the local universities would also allow the courts to revisit the questions surrounding the exceptions and limitations (fair dealing) provisions contained in section 28 of the Copyright Act, particularly as they relate to educational institutions, libraries and archives.

Event: Creative Commons Kenya “School of Open” Launch

School of Open CC P2PU

CIPIT, as the Public Lead for Creative Commons Kenya, has organised the Launch of a Creative Commons “School of Open” on the 23rd of February 2013 at Precious Blood Secondary School, Riruta. Through this event, CIPIT in partnership with the National Council for Law Reporting (Legal Lead for Creative Commons Kenya) and jamlab aims to introduce the concept of “Open” to high school students all over the country and engage them in the use of Open Education Resources. The chief guest at the launch will be Dr. Bitange Ndemo, PS in the Ministry of Information and Communication among other key invited guests. Proceedings will run from 09:30am to 12:30pm.

As a background, the School of Open is an open community project that aims to help anyone in the world understand what “open” means in the world around us, especially as it applies in the digital medium also known as the internet and how it can benefit creative endeavours across all fields including education, science, research and the arts.

The School of Open is a joint initiative being coordinated by two organisations: Peer to Peer University (P2PU) and Creative Commons (CC). While P2PU encompasses all types of courses, the soo is focused on the specific domain of openness. P2PU believe that open resources can improve access to and participation in research, education, technology and culture BUT not enough people know what “open” means or how to apply it.

As for CC, it is a non-profit organisation that offers a legal framework (through licenses) for the voluntary sharing of creative works on the web such music, videos, photos and educational resources like textbooks. With CC, creators can grant copy and reuse permissions in advance without having to negotiate rights each and every time. CC licenses also form the backbone of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. A movement of organisations and individuals that offer free educational resources under CC licenses to anyone in the world.