The Kenya Copyright Board.

The Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) Board of Directors has issued a statement on the status of the copyright sector. 

In their statement, they noted that Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) withdrew from bank accounts about Sh44 million set aside for distribution as royalty in defiance of Kecobo licensing conditions and conservatory directives.

According to their statement, the amounts were transferred to accounts outside the oversight by Kecobo. In addition, none of the CMOs has commenced the process of distribution and Kecobo has vowed to observe keenly the manner of distribution by the CMOs with the intention to have anyone diverting the funds prosecuted. 

Besides harassment of music users, CMO's, the bodies that collect and distribute creative royalties, have been facing several accusations of fund embezzlement, failure to account for artistes' monies and grand corruption.

The statement further details that all organisations dealing with royalties have been comprehensively audited and the findings forwarded to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

The DCI has completed investigations and the matter is now in the hands of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary.

Kecobo has been at the forefront of implementing measures to safeguard musicians’ funds and streamline a deeply troubled sector.

In a previous Senate committee meeting, it was disclosed that CMO directors had been illegally withdrawing sitting allowances that added up to a million shillings annually.

Last week, Kecobo filed a case at the High Court Constitutional Division for declaratory remedies and freezing of known accounts in which proceeds are being held. The hearing is slated for later this month.

With the National Rights Registry already having shelved over 17,000 works, Kecobo has announced the temporary waiver of the registration fee in a bid to attract more creatives.