MAAK calls for a review of the Copyright Act

The Music Associations Alliance of Kenya (MAAK) has called for a comprehensive review, and the amendment of the Copyright Act to protect the rights of artists.

In a petition submitted to parliament, the Alliance says there are critical concerns with the Act that are negatively impacting its members.

Chairman of Kenya Association of Music Producers Justus Ngemu, says there is a need for immediate action to safeguard the interests of artists and copyright owners in Kenya.

One of the key issues raised in the petition, is the licensing of Collective Management Organizations by the Kenya Copyright Board.

“This section clearly states that a CMO may be de-registered if it fails to function adequately, deviates from its Memorandum and Articles of Association, alters its rules to the extent of non-compliance, or fails to adhere to any provisions of the Act. This continued licensing of underperforming CMOs not only contradicts the law but also infringes upon our constitutional rights,” said Ngemu.

Another critical concern highlighted is Section 46(5) of the Copyright Act, which restricts the freedom of association for members, in violation of the Constitution of Kenya.

“This provision forces artists to belong to organizations that do not serve their common interests and denies them the right to exercise their freedom of association. Furthermore, it is disheartening to note that the Copyright Act has not been reviewed since the amalgamation of the Constitution of Kenya in 2010, failing to adapt to the changing needs of our creative community,” he added.

The Music Associations Alliance of Kenya urged Parliament to heed to the concerns and initiate a thorough review of the Copyright Act.

“We urge the government to enforce the provisions of Section 49(9) to prevent the licensing of underperforming CMOs, safeguarding the interests of our members. Furthermore, we emphasize the need to uphold artists’ constitutional right to freedom of association by amending Section 46(5) of the Copyright Act. Lastly, we strongly recommend legislation that ensures CMOs distribute a minimum of 70% of the collected revenue, thus providing artists with fair compensation for their invaluable contributions to the creative industry.”

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