Big win for Kenyan artists as president Uhuru signs Copyright amendment bill into Law!

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law the Copyright (Amendment) Bill that will now allow artists to receive 52 percent of revenue generated from their art.

Previously artists only received 16 percent of the proceeds. 25 per cent and 51 per cent went to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and mobile phone operators, respectively. “The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, also signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta today, introduces a new formula in the sharing of revenues collected from ring back tunes. Section 30(c) of the new Copyright law provides as follows: premium rate service provider shall be entitled to 8.5%; telecommunication operator 39.5%; and the artist or owner of the copyright shall be entitled to not less than 52% of the revenue,” read part of the statement.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law the Copyright (Amendment) Bill that will now allow artists to receive 52 percent of revenue generated from their art. Previously artists only received 16 percent of the proceeds. 25 per cent and 51 per cent went to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and mobile phone operators, respectively.

The bill sponsored by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, was passed by MPs in February. The Bill seeks to have artists and creatives allotted 52 per cent of all revenue generated from ring-back tunes popularly known as Skiza tunes. The Bill also prohibits service providers from unveiling personal information on subscribers thought to be engaging in content infringement.

The Bill tends to cure this by establishing an online national portal for the registration of copyright works. Once they register their works on the platform, artists will receive proceeds from any persons who sample their works. Ms Wanga has also been instrumental in fighting for artists to be exempted from paying a 25 percent excise duty that had been proposed in the Finance Bill 2021.

Artists have in the past protested the meagre earnings as royalty payments they received from music collective management organisations (CMOs). Last year Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) went as far as deregistering three CMOs following a dispute over the distribution of Sh114 million to artists and non-compliance with licensing conditions.

They include Kenya Association of Music Producers (Kamp), Performers Rights Society of Kenya (Prisk) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK).

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