Once again, Kenyan comedian-turned-activist Eric Omondi has taken his theatrics to Parliament.
Demanding that local media stations play 75 per cent local content, Eric arrived at Parliament buildings with a banner on his hands written ‘Play 75% Kenyan’.
He vowed to go on hunger strike until parliament passes a tabled bill, The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in support of local music.
“I'm here to champion local music to be played in all media stations. I'm here to ensure that they will pass that Bill,” Omondi said.
“Last time I was here and even today, no artiste has come to show solidarity and yet I'm fighting for their cause. I will chain myself here and (go on) hunger strike until something is done about this issue,” Omondi claimed.
Speaking to The Standard, the self-claimed King of Comedy said artistes in the country had suffered at the expense of a system where other stakeholders were main beneficiaries of their copyrighted work.
Late last year, Omondi was arrested at the same place while staging a similar demonstration. He was locked up and later released.
This comes only days after The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2021, sailed through its second reading before the National Assembly.
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The Gladys Wanga sponsored bill seeks to have creatives to get allocated 52 per cent of all revenue generated from ring back tunes. It also seeks to establish an online portal that will regulate copyright works.
However, depite being supported by a section of industry stakeholders, The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2021, that proposes a repeal of Sections 35B and 35C that provided for takedown notices and ISP liability respectively, has not gone well with some stakeholders, including international organisations concerned with piracy and copyright infringement laws.
Local gatekeepers such as the Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) as well as Multi-Choice, a regional company that operates DSTV, a major satellite television service in Sub-Saharan Africa, have been opposed to some sections of the proposed amendments.
The Bill proposes to repeal the provisions on takedown notices and requirements, the role of internet service providers and application for injunction.
Kecobo says repealing the sections would represent the biggest setback in the history of copyright and would leave Kenyan content creators, artistes and authors “hanging in the wind.”
“Many Kenyans who use the internet know how hard it is to stop people from misusing copyright works that have been placed online,” said Kecobo Executive Director Edward Sigei.