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  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.
Presently the Copyright Register (pictured above) shows that the same audiovisual work called “MY SKOOL TV SHOW” has two separate owners who registered it almost a year apart. In a recent High Court judgment in the case of Republic v Executive Director, Kenya Copyright Board & another Ex-Parte Sugarcane Communications Ltd  eKLR, the court quashed a decision by Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) to cancel the copyright registration of “MY SKOOL TV SHOW” by the ex parte Applicant (Sugarcane Communications Limited). This judgment is perhaps a wake-up call for KECOBO which, unlike the Registrar of Trade Marks at Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), is not accustomed to having its decisions regarding registration of intellectual property (IP) rights challenged by courts of law.
The Copyright Act provides copyright protection for literary, musical and artistic works, audio-visual works, sound recordings and broadcasts. It establishes the Kenya Copyright Board. The Board’s main functions include, directing, co-ordinate and overseeing the implementation of laws and international treaties and conventions to which Kenya is a party and which relate to copyright and other rights recognised by this Act and ensure the observance thereof.
The steps for registration of copyright are as follows:
Step 1: Collect the registration forms from the Kenya Copyright Board offices (also available online here)
Step 2: Fill in the relevant details
NB: Any such person purporting to register a work as an authorised agent, s/he is required to produce an authority letter authorising him/her to act as such agent and a copy of his/her National ID
Step 3: Have the forms commissioned by a Commissioner for Oaths.
Step 4: Attach two ORIGINAL copies of the work.
Step 5: Deposit the prescribed registration fee in the bank account of the Kenya Copyright Board below:-
Bank name: Kenya Commercial Bank
Account name: Kenya Copyright Board
Account number: 1104002450
Branch: Kipande House
Step 6: Present the Bank Deposit Slip at the KECOBO reception, where a reciept of registration will be issued.
Step 7: The ORIGINAL “Certificate of Registration” will be issued within 5-7 days** from the date of registration
** these 5-7 days allow for a rigorous process of verification of the copyright works offered for registration and it is done by KECOBO’s Legal Department.