Kenya: Ezekiel Mutua Picks Up a Fight With Copyright Board in Defense of Odinga

Nakuru — Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) CEO Ezekiel Mutua has picked up a fight with the Kenya Copyright Board over the ongoing tussle pitting Raila Odinga’s presidential campaign against the Sauti Sol band.

The Copyright Board which tasked with administration and enforcement copyright and related rights had issued a statement upholding Sauti Sol’s claim on the violation of synchronization rights as valid saying authority sought by Odinga’s campaign from MCSK was limited to use of music in rallies.

The board said MCSK licenses do not cover synchronization rights which are expressly granted by copyright holders.

“The use of sound recording as soundtrack with visual images in a film, video, television show, commercial or other audio-visual production is NOT part of those uses authorized by a Public Performance License,” Copyright Board Executive Director Edward Sigei said on Tuesday.

“Therefore, the use of sound recording for synchronization in the manner outlined by the complainant without authority is therefore infringement and thus violates Kenyan Copyright Law,” he added.

Mutua however faulted Sigei for issuing a statement on the matter “without consultations”.

“Odinga’s team paid a Sh560,000 for music copyright in it’s campaigns until May 2023,” he told journalists in Nakuru on Wednesday.

Sigei pointed out that the Odinga-led coalition flouted the Copyrights Act as they are required to have a synchronization license to give them leeway to use local and international license in soundtracks with visual images.