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.
“A synchronization license can only be issued by the composer and publisher. They have the authority to negotiate and issue a synchronization license. In this matter, the composers/performers allege that this was not done,” Sigei stated.
Hon. @MarthaKarua is an exceptional leader with high principles.
Thank you, Martha, for agreeing to walk with me on this journey.
Together #Inawezekana. pic.twitter.com/jlWDuBJuh2– Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) May 16, 2022
Sauti Sol was given the leeway to settle the matter inside or outside court.
“The matter is of civil nature and within the power of the parties to settle with or without compensation,” Sigei said.
The Kenyan band famed for its Extravaganza song had threatened to sue Azimio over copyright infringement.
Through a statement, the management indicated that they will be seeking a legal remedy following the violation.
“Through their action they have taken away the right to own and control what is originally and solely our property and have directly associated us with their campaign without our consent,” the statement reads.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) told the band that they played their ‘Extravaganza’ song at the running unveiling ceremony because they love their music.
Responding to the band in a brief statement, ODM said they didn’t have any ill intention adding that it was done out of appreciation for their work.
[Wanjiru Macharia contributed to this story from Nakuru.]