Music Copyright Society of Kenya CEO Ezekiel Mutua
The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has introduced a new fee on all forms of media capable of recording or reproducing copyrighted material including smartphones, CDs, DVDs, and USB drives.
Manufacturers and importers of blank media will be responsible for paying the fee which will be charged at the entry point of the gadgets. The purpose of the fee is to increase the royalties earned by creatives and reduce the loss of revenue resulting from the unauthorized duplication of their work. KECOBO has assured consumers that the fee will be hardly noticeable.
The implementation of the Blank Tape Levy will begin on September 15, 2023, in accordance with sections 28(3)(6) and 30(6) of the Copyright Act and the second schedule part B of the Copyright Regulations 2020. The levy is payable at the point of entry into Kenya. Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) CEO Ezekiel Mutua predicts that the country will generate Sh6 billion annually with the implementation of the levy.
This is a significant increase from the Sh200 million currently made. Sports CS Ababu Namwamba recently shared similar views. He said the funds will be used to establish key facilities including digital content creators' academies which will upskill creatives. While this is potentially good news for creatives, industry experts have denounced the price hikes lamenting their implementation at a time when the country is facing a cost of living crisis.
"We are revamping the exercise of royalties collection because that is where the problem is. We are implementing a digital system that will help us collect the royalties digitally," Namwamba said.