A High Court sitting in Machakos set a precedent after delivering a landmark ruling prohibiting universities and other institutions of higher learning from using students' photos to market their academic activities.
In a ruling delivered by Justice M.W. Muigai on Tuesday, August 16, the court argued that using the photos without their consent was unlawful and a violation and infringement of their rights.
Justice Muigai, the petitioner, maintained that a university ought to consider a student as a private person thus the need to seek his or her consent.
"That the respondents ought to have known that the petitioner is a private person and thus sought her consent," the ruling read in part.
"The Petitioner's fundamental right to privacy and human dignity under Article. 28 & 31 of the Constitution of Kenya was violated by publishing her image for purposes of commercial without giving her consent," Justice Muigai added.
Justice Muigai alluded to various academic works and other court precedents set in courts outside Kenya. The High court made it clear that using their photos amounted to advertisement and promotions.
"That her intellectual property rights, right of publicity and personal rights, we're infringed when the respondent decided to publish her image in advancing and marketing of computer packages course offered for financial gain without seeking her consent."
The verdict comes just days after The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) warned Kenyans against using memes for commercial purposes.
Alluding to copyright laws and restrictions, KECOBO added that reproducing, making adaptations, publishing and broadcasting the work of the comedians without consent amounts to infringement of the Copyright rule.
"While the use of memes in social media is tolerated, its creation and use for commercial purposes can attract significant civil liability and must be cleared from the authors," their letter read in part.
The warning came after two comedians, Arap Marindich and Tula Chemoget, went viral imitating World Rally Championship drivers who participated in Safari Rally in Naivasha, Nakuru County in June.