Govt Issues Advisory on Playing Local Music

  • A file image of a music mixer.
    A file image of a music mixer.
  • Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has instructed firms and individuals to seek permission from song owners before using them for commercial purposes.

    According to a statement dated Thursday, August 25, the government agency explained that using songs and other forms of sound recordings without authorisation amounts to copyright infringement.

    KECOBO detailed that brands have been using creative's content as background to market and advertise different products without following due processes.

    Regardless of the length of the sound used in adverts, artists can sue and seek compensation for synchronisation. 

    A file image taken at a musical event.
    A file image taken at a musical event.

    "Regardless of the length of the portion used or the source of the music, such use must be cleared by the copyright owner," KECOBO insisted.

    Copyright laws describe synchronisation as a process where songs are combined with moving images, especially in film, TV series, advertisements, video games and even trailers.

    Obtaining a synchronisation licence grants one permission to use a local song in a moving picture according to regulations stipulated by the government. 

    By seeking permission, KECOBO added that it enables the owner to generate revenue and return on their investments.

    The advisory follows a series of complaints raised by several artists over copyright infringement.

    Reknown boys band, Sauti Sol, lifted the lid after they threatened to sue Azimio la Umoja for using one of their songs to unveil Martha Karua as Raila Odinga's running mate.

    An uproar also ensued after corporates used memes associated with comedian Arap Marindich to advertise their products. 

    Speaking to Nation Africa, KECOBO Executive Director, Edwin Sigei, also noted that the use of a photograph of an Uasin Gishu voter who went viral with Sina Maoni's response also raised many concerns.

    "A copyright owner is supposed to offer a licensing contract authorising the manner and boundaries of the use of their work, accompanied by a fee," Sigei told Nations.

    Viral TikTok comedians Arap Marindich and Tula Chemoget
    Viral TikTok comedians Arap Marindich and Tula Chemoget