Kenya Copyright Boards Recent Figures on Enforcement and Raids in 2015


The recently published 17th quarterly edition of ‘Copyright News’ (a publication of the Kenya Copyright Board) sets out its enforcement activities between the April to July 2015.

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) [1] was established by section 3 of the Kenyan Copyright Act 2001 as a State Corporation under the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice. KECOBO is responsible for reviewing legislation, implementation of laws and international treaties, enforcement and prosecution of copyright cases, conducting training programmes and advocacy on public on matters related to copyright and licensing, as well as licensing and supervising the activities of collective management societies[2]. KECOBO also hosts a databank of authors providing a point of reference for the public and potential users of copyright works.[3]

Under Kenyan law, enforcement of copyright is mainly a right of the copyright holder. Towards promoting copyright protection, KECOBO has enforcement department that works with the rights holders and other law enforcement agencies such as the police to ensure that the right of rights holders are protected and enforced.

In 2012 KECOBO indicated that the enforcement unit consists of 8 police officers appointed as copyright inspectors and five legal officers /special prosecutors on copyright matters. Since 2012 several police officers have been appointed as copyright Inspectors through gazette notice. Copyright inspectors are legally able to enter and search any premises within which infringement is suspected to be on going.[4] The inspectors along with the option of seizing articles suspected of being infringing for investigation purposes, can arrest without warrant any person suspected of committing an offence under the Copyright Act.[5]

KECOBO in conjunction with the police routinely conducts raids on premises it believes to be producing or storing for distribution infringing material. In the last year KECOBO indicates that it has carried out several raids and prosecuted over 200 cases of infringement.In the period between April and June 2015 KECOBO conducted 19 raids in three locations around Kenya these being Nairobi, Nakuru and Kabati. These raids were conducted with regards to copyright infringement relating to illegal broadcasts, literary works and sound recordings, this being the main focus of the majority of the raids as 17 out of the 19 raids were conducted in the category of sound recordings. Of notable mention were the raids conducted on five private companies that were using infringing Auto-Cad software and Premises that were re broadcasting Pay Tv signals. The companies using the illegal Auto-Cad software agreed to settle the matter out of court and purchase genuine software worth $23,800 and the copyright inspectors seized 34 open sky decoders that were being used for rebroadcasts of multichoice DSTV signals.[6]

The number of reported cases of infringement also rose within the April to July 2015 period with 19 cases of infringement reported, this being 11 more cases than in the January to March 2015 period. In line with the cases reported, the figures on the investigations and prosecutions reflect the 19 cased reported which suggests that all reported cases were legitimate cases of copyright infringement and presented enough information to bring the complaints before a court. In instances where the copyright holder does not want the matter to be dealt with by the court, KECOBO offers arbitration services and while none were reported in the April to July, 3 complaints in the January to March period were referred to arbitration.

The number of cases brought forward by KECOBO pending before the court in April to July period was reported as 12 with 6 cases having been finalised and 1 case withdrawn. These figures while not indicating which cases succeeded, are a good indication of the speed with which copyright infringement matters are dealt with, within the Kenyan court system. This can be done by looking at the previous quarters figures (January to March 2015) where there were no pending cases, indicating that of the 19 cases filed in the April to July period, 7 were dispensed within at least 2 months of the complaints being recorded.

Where the court finds the suspected infringers guilty of an offence under the Act, the infringers are fined or handed custodial sentences with the court in most instances ordering the exhibits to be destroyed. KECOBO reported[7] that in June 2015 it destroyed over two tonnes of various infringing material such as DVDs, CDs, Satellite dishes and assorted cables at the waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Centre.

For more information, please contact Carole Theuri.

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[1] Nyakiri et al “The economic contribution of copyright based industries” 2009, Pg 39, Section 2..2.2

[2] The Enforcement bulletin can be downloaded at http://www.copyright.go.ke/downloads/category/6-iec-materials.html

[3] www.copyright.go.ke

[4] Section 40 Kenya Copyright Act 2001

[5] Section 42 Kenya Copyright Act 2001

[6] Inspector Mutegi Kathenya ,Enforcement Training & Raids Update, Copyright News, Issue 17 pg14

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

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