The Kenya Copyright Board recently announced the grant of license to three Collective Management Organizations to collect royalties on behalf of content creators for the year 2019.

KECOBO licenses and supervises the collective management organizations in Kenya.
Currently, there are three (3) such CMOs in Kenya and they are: Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP),  Music Copyright Society (MCSK) and the Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRiSK).

Collective management is the exercise of copyright and related rights by organizations acting in the interest and on behalf of the owners of rights. The creator of a work has the right to allow or to prohibit the use of his works

Collective Management Organizations are thus private organisations (in the case of Kenya, they are registered as companies limited by guarantee), that are established to collectively administer the rights of their members such as composers, performers, authors, artists, book publishers among others. They manage the rights that cannot be administered by individuals.

According to WIPO, “Traditional” CMOs acting on behalf of their members, negotiate rates and terms of use with users, issue licenses authorizing uses, collect and distribute royalties. The individual owner of rights does not become directly involved in any of these steps.

The Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) is mandated to collect for and distribute royalties to producers of sound recordings.

Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRiSK) is a collective management organisation licensed by the Kenya Copyright Board to represent performers in musical and dramatic works.

The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) collects royalties in public performance and broadcasting, on behalf of its members.

This was announced vide a press statement dated 20th January 2019 issued by the Board. In this recent announcement, a key alteration on the set up is that previously licensed Music Publishers Association of Kenya (MPAKE) is now replaced by the earlier CMO MCSK. MCSK had been denied an operating license by the Board and could therefore neither collect nor distribute royalties on behalf of its members.

MCSK was required to hold elections, restructure its management agree to a forensic audit of its financial records of the last two years and accept an independent Board Chairperson to oversee a turnaround. It was also required to obtain new letters of authorization from its members and provide further details of its members.

Mr. David Murithii, a former Board Member and Chair of the Audit Committee, has been appointed at the chair of the MCSK board for a period of one year to assist in the reformation of the organization. It is expected that over this period of time that he shall oversee corporate and management reform.

KECOBO’s management will also analyse the CMOs Memorandum and Articles of association to find areas of wastage and non-compliance. Further, the directors of all the CMO’s will be subjected to Corporate Governance Training.

It is expected that the Copyright Amendment Bill before the Senate will give the Board more power and flexibility required to provide the required oversight mandate over the CMOs.

Additionally, to discuss this further, the Board has organized a Public Forum to Discuss the Joint Tariffs Submitted by MCSK, KAMP & PRiSK, for today, Thursday 24th January, 2019, NHIF Auditorium, 8.30Am – 11.30Am.