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.
South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry has published a draft Copyright Amendment Bill for public comments within 30 calendar days from July 27, 2015. The Draft Amendments addresses key provisions of the Copyright Act, No 98 of 1978 and the Performers Protection Act, No 11 of 1967, which are viewed as outdated in light of developments at the international level in particular with regard to the digital environment. A copy of the Draft Bill is available here.
The Preamble of the Draft Bill provides a list of the proposals to revamp South Africa’s Copyright Act 98 of 1978 such as: to provide for the protection of copyright in craft work; to provide for the accreditation and registration of Collecting Societies; to provide for the procedure for settlement of royalties disputes; to provide for access to copyright works for a person with disabilities; to provide for the protection of ownership of orphan works by the state; to provide for the establishment, appointment, powers and functions of Intellectual Property Tribunal.
The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) reports that powerful record label umbrella body International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has written to Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) demanding the removal of Section 30A of Kenya Copyright Act. (See our previous discussions of section 30A here)
According to FIM, the criticism of section 30A by IFPI is an unacceptable “step backwards, the implication of which is that all treaties guaranteeing artists’ rights would be made devoid of any meaning (Rome Convention, WPPT, Beijing Treaty).”