Idea/Expression Murkiness: Court Ruling in Nation Media Copyright Suit over ‘LIT 360’ Simulcast Show

Lit360 Nation Media Group April 2018 31337776_588196948202537_5963395935391186944_o

Like clockwork, behind every mega corporate launch in Kenya is a law suit over allegedly ‘stolen’ intellectual property (IP). In a recent High Court ruling in Incognito Productions Limited & another v Nation Media Group [2018] eKLR, the learned judge appeared to sympathise with the Plaintiffs but not enough to grant their application for a temporary injunction against the Defendant, one of Kenya’s largest media conglomerates that recently rolled out a multi-million shilling project dubbed ‘Lit Music’.

The face of Lit Music (which is really just a record label) is ‘LIT 360’, a 1-hour programme made available simultaneously on Nation’s radio, television and digital platforms. LIT 360 was designed with the aim of talent scouting, soliciting and harvesting content, as well as distribution, marketing and promotion of musical talent. As readers may have undoubtedly figured out by now, the Plaintiffs’ claim is that Nation unlawfully appropriated their concept which underlies Lit Music and LIT 360 based on a series of confidential business proposals made to Nation by the Plaintiffs between July 2016 and March 2017.

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Nollywood, Rejoice: Nigerian Copyright Reform Draft 2015 Bill Published

Nigerian-Copyright-Commission-NCC

In November 2012, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (‘the Commission’) formally launched the Reform of the Copyright System. The key objective of the reform was to re-position Nigeria’s creative industries for greater growth; strengthen their capacity to compete more effectively in the global marketplace, and also enable Nigeria to fully satisfy its obligations under the various International Copyright Instruments, which it has either ratified or indicated interest to ratify.

Since the formal launch of the Reform, the Commission has undertaken a number of activities, including review and comparative analysis and case studies of similar national reform efforts; stakeholders’ consultations; collation of commentaries; and analysis of stakeholder feedback.

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Longhorn Acquires Publishing Rights for Malkiat Singh Titles in 300 Million Shillings Deal

Longhorn Publishers Kenya

The Business Daily reports that Longhorn Publishers have acquired the works of iconic educational textbooks writer and publisher, Malkiat Singh. The details of this deal are reported as follows: Longhorn Publishers will pay Singh KES 83 million in cash and annual royalties of about KES 24 million for the next 10 years (12% of yearly sales). The octogenerian Singh is a household name in Kenya’s textbook publishing market, with over 20 titles approved by the State for Primary Education. It is reported that the buyout deal does not include the purchase of Singh’s publishing house, Dhillon Publishers therefore as part of the deal, he is restricted from publishing with Longhorn rivals over the next decade.

While announcing the deal, Longhorn Managing Director Musyoki Muli is reported as saying:

“We will be offering Mr Singh a royalty rate of 12 per cent on net sales which is slightly higher than the average of 10 per cent (….) The publisher was experiencing some challenges in marketing the brand; challenges which we hope to overcome through the rebranding that we have just carried out and backed with vigorous marketing.”

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