Media owners question new royalty rates by copyright board

Media owners have questioned the criteria used by the Kenya Copyright Board to develop new royalty rates.

Media Owners Association Chief Executive Officer Lynette Mwangi said although the industry was ready to pay, the board ought to have consulted all stakeholders before coming up with the rates.

The rates, she said, did not represent the true economic picture of the industry.

“People have the assumption that broadcast is making a lot of money, which is not necessarily the case,” said Ms Mwangi.

Mwangi said the association wrote to the board last week requesting for a clarification on who exactly was to be paid the royalties.

Management organisations

On January 20, 2019 the board issued licenses to three Collective Management Organisations (CMO): the Kenya Association of Music Producers(Kamp), Performance Right Society of Kenya(Prisk) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya(MCSK)-to collect the said new royalties for 2019 and 2020.

The license to the MCSK was after a two-year period in the cold that followed protests by various artistes of either getting very little or no royalties for their music.

“For us, it is not a situation of won’t pay, but rather of let us sit and agree on the tariffs and we will pay you.  But again, when we pay, let the rightful beneficiary get the money,” said Ms Mwangi.

Renewing its license, Kecobo Executive Director Edward Sigei said MCSK had fulfilled certain requirements, one of them being restructuring its management. MCSK will also be required to distribute at least 70 per cent of the monies it collects.

The association of pub and restaurant owners has also protested against the rates saying it was not consulted and that the tariffs introduced were rejected in 2015.

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Media ownersKenya Copyright BoardLynette MwangiPlaying musicMCSK