Kenya's copyright body speaks out after the National anthem was copyrighted by a British Company - The Sauce
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Kenya’s copyright body speaks out after the National anthem was copyrighted by a British Company

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has come out to clear the air that the Dewolfe Music’s copyright claim on the country’s national anthem is invalid.

According to a statement released by the board yesterday (05.02.19), KECOBO said that although copyrights usually expire after 50 years, in which the Kenyan National anthem copyright expired in 2013 and was not renewed, the national anthem has additional protection.

“The National Anthem is over 50 years and has thus fallen into the public domain. However, given the place of National Anthem in any country and the provisions of the National Flags, Emblems and Names Act (Cap 99 laws of Kenya) there is additional protection of the anthem against misuse and improper use,” read the statement.

“Under that Act, the use of the National Anthem, emblems, names, and other similar symbols is restricted and its use shall be subject to written permission by the minister in charge of interior,” continued the statement.

The body tweeted that the copyright claims are invalid and that they are working on solving the issue.

The copyright body further noted that amendments need to be made to the Copyright Act to ensure that the use of national symbols and government works remain subject to authorization even where copyright expires. KECOBO said it is studying the terms and conditions in YouTube with the aim of requesting for the removal of all content offending the National Anthem by Dewolfe Music and others.

“KECOBO is at the moment studying the terms and conditions in YouTube platform with a view to requesting for the takedown of all content offending the National Anthem by the said company and others as well,” added the statement.

This is after a Kenyan content creator complained to YouTube after his video ranking African national anthems were flagged. The reason given was that the Kenyan national anthem was copyrighted by De Wolfe Music.

Last year, claims that Walt Disney was trademarking the Kenyan phrase ‘Hakuna Matata’ caused an uproar on social media. Although many thought the trademark had been filed last year, records showed this was originally done in 1994 during the time Lion King was released.

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