Kenya’s national anthem has been ‘stolen’ by foreign company. Has it really?

As written by IP Lawyer Liz Lenjo, in the past week the internet has been buzzing over this video on the Kenyan vlogger’s use of the Kenyan Anthem.

The video was discussing their views on some of the greatest national anthems while sampling them for their audience. To their surprise their video was flagged for a copyright infringement claim as the content ID had been claimed by a third party.

About Copyright

Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection which covers different forms of expression of an idea. One thing, can be copyrighted a million times over based on its expression. For instance, a rose – a photographer could take a photo of the rose, they have copyright, a poet could write about this rose = copyright, a sketch artist could draw this rose, sopyright, a rapper could rap about the rose and an acapella band sing on this rose, each of these people have a right in copyright.

Also, important to note, is that copyright subsists automatically. That as soon as the work is expressed, protection begins to run. It does not have to be registered in order to be protected.

Public Domain 

As with any form of intellectual property, the catch is that upon the expiry of a certain period of time, because of the usefulness of this new innovation/work, the public should have access to it. It should be for the common good. With copyright, in most cases, the protection lapses after 50 years of the life of the author, or from when the work was created.

The National Anthem

I am nearly certain that no person or entity holds the certificate of registration for the national anthem of Kenya. No person can restrict any Kenyan or person for that matter, from using the national anthem if it is being honorably used of course. The anthem is definitely over 50 years old, therefore in the public domain.

So is it really accurate that the anthem has been copyrighted by a third party foreign company?

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