Artists to earn Sh6bn annually in new MCSK levy

Kenya Veterans for Peace CEO Dr Nelson Sechere receives a copy of 'Becoming a President' from Author S. K. Kajwang during the book launch at Mt Kenya University [Shisia Wasilwa, Standard]

Musicians and other artists are set to earn at least Sh6 billion annually, from a new levy introduced by the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK).

The Blank Tape Levy, also known as Private Copying Levy was rolled out last Friday night in line with Section 30 (b) of the Copyright Act.

The Levy is a nominal fee to be charged on all gadgets with the capacity to record music and is meant to generate money to support creatives, according to MCSK CEO Dr Ezekiel Mutua.

It will be charged to manufacturers of such gadgets or importers at the port of entry.

Speaking during the launch of the book "Becoming President" by former Mount Kenya University President SK Kajwang in Thika, Mutua explained that the levy is not a new tax, but a fee meant to compensate Copyright holders for the potential use of their works.

"This is not a tax neither is it a new law. Blank Tape Levy has been in the law since 2001 but it had not been implemented despite the fact that artists continued to languish in poverty while their copyrighted musical works are infringed on with gay abandon."

The chief guest at the event held at MKU's Thika main campus Kenya Military Veterans for Peace Chief Executive Officer Dr Nelson Sechere who is also the Military Veteran Officers CEO hailed the youthful author whom he termed as an inspiration to fellow youths.

Kajwang said Kenyan students have great potential and that he decided to write the book to inspire others on servant leadership.

 Mutua thanked President William Ruto and CS Ababu Namwamba for supporting his efforts to have the fund implemented terming it "a game changer" in addressing the welfare of artistes.

He lauded the move saying that it was a bold step towards addressing the plight of artists, especially musicians.