Kenya Copyright Board causes a stir online about the legality of Kenyan DJs’ live stream live stream

COVID-19 has changed how, when, where and how we interact with each other and how we do events such as concerts. Following government directives in order to curb the spread of the virus, most events including concerts have been cancelled indefinitely, leaving entertainers, with little to no choice but to take their acts online.

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In the months since those directives were put in place, several entertainers have live-streamed their acts online, including Sauti Sol, Nyashinski and musicians around the world. Following suit, Kenyan Djs began doing the same, DJ Joe Mfalme being the first, streaming their content on YouTube as well as on Instagram. However, they have since hit an obstacle.

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According to Paul Kaindo, an advocate at the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), DJs need to apply for two licences – a special broadcast license and a public performance license – in order to conduct their live streams. The operations manager at MCSK says that this kind of license would be issued to the DJs at a flat rate of around KSh. 200,000 a year if they are not making any money from content. However, if the DJs are gaining financial reward from using the content CMOS would take a percentage from whatever they are making.

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That news caused an online public debate. Most state that the online platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram would crack down on that infringement themselves.

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Nonetheless, the Kenya Copyright Board reiterated its statement online.

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It isn’t just Kenyan DJs who are going to face obstacles going forward. Owing to the popularity of live stream dance parties on their platform, Instagram has since put in place a 90-second delay in order to shut down sets reported for copyright infringement.

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This then gives weight to the argument that paying for the license put in place by KECOBO will still not cover you from copyright infringement on the online platform you live stream from.

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