NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 27 – The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) was on Thursday directed by the High Court in Kisumu to stop collecting royalties from music users and businesses.
The court ruled the case in accordance with the Copyright Act as stipulated in the Constitution, which states that “no person or association of persons shall commence or carry on the business of a copyright collecting society except under or in accordance with a certificate of registration.”
The order followed a petition that was filed by the Kisumu Bar Owners Association and Kisumu Green Garden restaurant who accused the MCSK of harassing them while they lacked a valid license to collect the royalties and were not gazetted as required.
The court said that the MCSK was guilty of collecting royalties illegally and therefore the order barring them from collecting the royalties was necessary.
“Pending the hearing and determination of this application, the respondent whether by itself, it’s agents or servants or otherwise be and is hereby restrained from demanding and collecting royalties for the exploitation of performing and reproduction rights of authors (songwriters), composers, publishers and arrangers of copyrighted musical works form users,” the court ruled.
The court noted that the MCSK license had expired on December 31 and their application to renew was declined and communicated through a letter dated February 17, 2017 by Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO).
KECOBO has licensed three organizations to collect royalties on behalf of the music industry for 2017. The three are Music Publishers Association of Kenya (MPAKE) which represents authors, composers, arrangers and publishers, Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) which represents producers of sound recordings and Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) which represents performers.
KECOBO and MPAKE had been enjoined in the Kisumu matter as interested parties.