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Anti-Piracy Devices for Audio Visual Works in Kenya

In the period April to July the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) reported that it filed 19 cases before the High Court.

A majority of the cases involved the offence of offering for sale copyright works without an authentication device contrary to section 36(5) of the Kenyan Copyright Act 2001. Within the same period, a Nairobi criminal court heard the cases of 3 persons were charged with 2 counts of offering for sale copyright works. Two of the three person charged were fined a total of $400 (Ksh.40,000) with the third accused sentenced to pay a fine of $500 (Ksh 50,000) and in default of the fine, a prison sentence of 6 months.

Section 36 of the Kenya Copyright Act (the Act) is based on the following

  • Every sound and audio-visual recording made available to the public by way of sale, lending or distribution in any other manner to the public for commercial purposes in Kenya shall have affixed on it an authentication device.

  • The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) at the stage of voluntary registration of copyright in Audio visual works, shall authenticate copyright works according to all required documents furnished to it by the copyright owner and shall issue an approval certificate.

  • The certificate shall be used to purchase authentication devices.

  • The authentication devices shall be issued to copyright owners or licence holders upon proof that they have has been authorized by the copyright owner to manufacture, reproduce, sell, import and rent or otherwise distribute the work.

In a recent article by the Kenyan Copyright Board[1], they report that it is estimated that 98% of the music sold in Kenya is pirated with results of a survey conducted by KECOBO revealing that people who engage in Piracy do not know that it is a crime. The crime involving the sale of copyright works without an authentication device is a unique strategy by the Kenya Copyright board to fight piracy especially in the Audio visual sector.

The authentication device or Anti-Piracy Security Device (APSD) seen below is a tamper proof sticker that is applied on legitimate audio and audio-visual works (films, CDS, DVDS and VCDs). It includes a bar code that is unique to each product and a hologram that has overt and correct features known to the KECOBO. The APSD helps rights holders, law enforcement agencies and individual consumers to differentiate between legitimate and potentially infringing works.


Rights holders must purchase a minimum of 500 devices at $ 0.04 each. Any audio visual works without the APSD are automatically deemed to be illegal and KECOBO has the power to seize and destroy these works without obtaining a court order. KECOBO has reported that since the launch of the devices in 2010 they have received over 3000 works for registration and continues to advocate for registration of Audio visual works and purchase of authentication devices.

Pictures of authentication device were originally posted on the IP Kenya Blog here and have been published in this post with the Author's authority.

For more information, please contact Carole Theuri.


[1] Lucian Mue, Destruction of assorted Copyright impounded material, Copyright News, Issue 17 pg14


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