Ezekiel Mutua Takes Copyright War to IEBC

  • KFCB CEO Ezekiel Mutua addressing a forum at Kenyatta University in Nairobi on February 22, 2020
    MCSK CEO Ezekiel Mutua addressing a forum at Kenyatta University in Nairobi on February 22, 2020
    Twitter
  • Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) Chief Executive Officer, Ezekiel Mutua, says he has written to the electoral agency over politicians' use of Kenyan artists' work without paying.

    Speaking on Saturday, May 21, during an interview with KTN News, Mutua stated that it is unfair and unethical for politicians to use artistic compositions without paying for them.

    He noted that MCSK has involved the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in a bid to ensure that Kenyan musicians are paid what is rightfully theirs.

    Ex-KFCB CEO, Ezekiel Mutua.j
    MCSK CEO, Ezekiel Mutua.
    Capital FM

    Mutua added that politicians have been playing songs at their political rallies and even incorporating slogans from artists yet the artists do not receive what is duly owed to them.

    He now wants the IEBC to treat politicians who use music without paying for it as having failed the integrity test and therefore be barred from running for office.

    On the issue of Azimio La Umoja and Sauti Sol, Mutua explained that Azimio had paid the money MCSK as required before they used Sauti Sol's music, arguing that the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) was on the wrong.

    The MCSK boss stated that MCSK is on the side of the musicians and has issued invoices to 47 presidential candidates.

    "There is a confusion we are trying to diffuse and ensure we reach an understanding because issues of copyright are not well understood. We issued a license to a presidential candidate (Raila Odinga). We involved all 47 of them and this one called us and paid for the license," Mutua stated.

    "We are actually doing a campaign to get the rest of them to pay and we are hoping they do because we get royalties which we then pay to these musicians."

    "Two weeks after we received payment from the candidate, controversy arose about the adaptation and synchronization of a video by Azimio. Bien of Sauti Sol has a right to go to court but the client also needs to know what our license covers," added Mutua.

    Mutua had lectured Kenyans and termed the move to unfollow Sauti Sol on YouTube as juvenile after a section of Raila Odinga supporters threatened to boycott the all boy-band music.

    Kenyans started unsubscribing from Sauti Sol's channel following a letter castigating Azimio La Umoja for using one of their songs during the unveiling of the Narc Kenya party leader, Martha Karua, as Raila Odinga's running mate.

    Through a statement dated Thursday, May 19, Mutua described the action of the fans as juvenile, saying that Kenyans have a right to disagree ideologically but they should not capitalise on that to perpetuate hate.

    "Unsubscribing from Sauti Sol YouTube is a juvenile reaction. We may have differences but we must not be blinded by politics to the point of hate. Let's deal with the issues at hand in a civil manner. Sauti Sol remains one of our greatest bands in Kenya's history," Mutua stated.

    Sauti Sol performing during their Midnight Train virtual experience album launch on August 22, 2020.
    Sauti Sol performing during their Midnight Train virtual experience album launch on August 22, 2020.
    YouTube

    After Sauti Sol raised an issue with Azimio using their songs, ODM stated that the use of the song was a gesture of appreciation and admiration to the group.

    KECOBO noted that despite Azimio obtaining a Public Performance License (PPL) which allows it to play both local and international music at its rallies, it did not obtain a synchronisation license which can only be issued by the composer and publisher of the works.

    KECOBO established that Azimio infringed on Sauti Sol's rights by playing Extravaganza during the unveiling of Karua.