Kenyan musicians have rejected Kenya Copyright Board’s (KECOBO) move to issue licenses to three content management organizations.
The three are Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK).
In a statement the musicians sought to find out why KECOBO’s executive director Edward Sigei issued the three organizations with collective management organizations (CMO) licenses to collect royalties on their behalf behind Sports CS Rashid Echesa’s back.
“The CS informed us that Kecobo CEO went against his directive not to issue any communication on licenses or the licenses before outstanding conditions that denied MCSK a license were resolved and all stakeholders are on one page with a lasting solution to the problems that have existed in the whole business of royalty collection,” the musicians’ statement reads in part.
The licenses, they said were unconstitutionally issued on a Sunday. According to the artists, Kecobo lacks quorum to make such a decision because their term ended on October 31, 2018.
“Kecobo does not have a new board which would have considered the issuing of a license. It would appear that Mr Sigei is acting on his own since Kecobo has no board members. This is against the law,” it reads on.
They further castigated the board which is said to have delayed issuing authors, composers and publishers with licenses in a move that seemingly benefits a number of board members.
They say that newly appointed MCSK chair David Mureithi alias DJ D-Lite and one Mr Katana were part of the board that took the above mentioned decision. This they say, is a conflict of interest and abuse of office.
MCSK had its license renewed after two years in the cold after they failed to submit their audited financial statements and amounts paid in royalties to their members.
On Sunday, Sigei said that the three CMOs “will be required to distribute at least 70 percent of the revenues they collect as royalties to their members. They are also required to submit their 2019 budget before the award of license to control wastage.”
But the artists have continued to decry wastage of funds and illegal collection of royalties over the years.
“In 2017 and 2018 they continued to collect illegally and not paying artists further the court found them guilty and ordered Kecobo to take action.”
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