6 Steps to Protect Your Intellectual Property Online

  • A person using a mobile phone
    A person using a mobile phone.
  • The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has issued several measures creatives and artists can use to protect intellectual property (IP). Content posted online includes books, computer programs, music, films, plays, photograph and art among others. 

    Despite intellectual property being intangible, here are some steps that creatives can follow to ensure they fully exploit the potential of the internet.

    Clearly Indicate Ownership

    As an artist, you can use a conspicuous notice that indicates ownership. The notice can also include details of what a user can and can not do with the work.

    An image of social media icons on a mobile phone.
    An image of social media icons on display on a mobile phone.
    Anadolu Agency

    Indicating ownership will limit the number of people who will use your content without authorisation.

    Include Contact Details

    In the event that a person needs to use your content, the contact details provided can help them reach you. You therefore can discuss a fee or any other payment model with the client. 

    However, artists are encouraged not to attach their personal emails and phone numbers. You can register a business email and separate number which can be managed by an administrator. 

    Use Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies

    Through these technologies, one can only access your work if they have a password.

    DRM uses identification systems and licensing agreements to safeguard your work.


    Encryption involves encoding the content which only authorised users can access. An unauthorised user will find it hard to decode or understand the content. 

    Use Digital Watermark

    A digital watermark is data embedded in online content to identify its owner or its origin. It tracks how the content is used online and issues a warning when used without permission. 

    Digital watermark, however, is unnoticeable to the naked eye but signals when copyrighted content is downloaded and repurposed.

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

    Unique Electronic Marking 

    This could include logos or initials to brand your content and prevent authorised individuals from using it. This can be automatically added to all copies of your content.

    Also, you can use specialised computers that add security features to your content and block prohibited repurposing.

    On Thursday, August 25, KECOBO directed organisations and the public to seek permission from song owners before using them for commercial purposes.

    KECOBO also emphasised that the use of content without authorisation can attract a lawsuit. 

    The decision to inform the public on copyright laws stemmed from corporates using the photos of comedian Arap Marindich without his permission. Marindich's memes that went viral were derived from a skit he recorded during the June 2022 Naivasha Safari Rally.