Ezekiel Mutua, KECOBO clash over Sauti Sol claim

Sauti Sol on Monday claimed that the Azimio la Umoja campaign violated their right to copyright.

The discussion of IP law and when, how and who can play music at events continues to be a topic of debate online since Sauti Sol released their statement on Monday.

The latest to join the debate is Kenya Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MSCK) Director Ezekiel Mutua who in a statement released on Twitter called KECOBO’s support of Sauti Sol “totally misleading and misguided” adding that the Azimio coalition was licenced to use any song including that of Kenyan boy band Sauti Sol in campaigns.

This latest statement by Mutua criticised the Kenya Copyright Board’s statement released on Tuesday which essentially sided with Sauti Sol adding that Azimio needed a synchronised licence and not the audio licence for which the Former Prime Minister, Mr Odinga paid over KSh500,000 last week.

In his statement, Mutua said, “This is a totally misleading and misguided statement by KECOBO. We licensed the Raila Odinga Presidential campaign using the existing tariffs gazetted by the Govt. Our members, including Sauti Sol, have assigned their rights to MCSK to administer copyright on their behalf.”

The point of contention between the two bodies lies in what constitutes synchronisation rights and whether a separate license is required. KECOBO Executive Director Edward Sigei said, “The coalition only obtained a Public Performance License that allows them to only play local and international music at its rallies and events…the use of sound recording with a soundtrack with visual images in a film, video, television show, commercial, or other audio-visual production is not part of the license,” said Sigei.

Mutua contradicted Sigei in his argument further adding that the license covers both performing, mechanical rights and synchronisation rights.

“…MCSK wishes to clarify that the license issued covers both performing, mechanical rights & synchronisation. We thank the Raila Odinga Presidential Campaign team for complying with the copyright law and urge others to pay.”

Mutua attached the licensing document in question valid until May 6th 2023.

Sauti Sol released a statement on Monday threatening to sue the Azimio la Umoja campaign for its use of their song “Extravaganza” at the unveiling of Raila Odinga’s running mate Martha Karua.


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