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DStv ‘sambaza’ will cost you dearly, regulator warns users

Businesses and individuals infringing on MultiChoice East Africa’s rights by broadcasting sports content through illegally shared DStv signal face prosecution, the regulator has warned.

The Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) said Wednesday that most culprits are relying on unauthorised satellite connections popularly called ‘DStv sambaza’ to air elite football competitions in the world without authority of rights holders.

The most affected content includes the English Premier League (EPL), the UEFA Champions League (UCL) and the Spanish La Liga.

“Take note that it is an offence to distribute, transmit, stream, broadcast or make available to the public copyright works without the authority of the rights holders,” Kecobo executive director Edward Sigei said.

Also on the spot are manufactures or distributors of devices designed to circumvent technical protection measures (TPM) put in place to protect copyrighted works.


Mr Sigei said Kecobo inspectors had rights to enter any premise and inspect for possible rights infringement. Copyright Act imposes a fine of up to Sh100,000 or two years in jail for such offences but enforcement has not been strong.
The connections are popular in populous residential estates such as Buruburu, Umoja, Kayole, Donholm and Embakasi. The trend has also spread to neighbourhoods along Thika Road like Kasarani, Roysambu, Githurai and Kahawa West.

Sharing of the satellite TV signals offers reduced monthly rates compared with MultiChoice’s bouquets that are beyond the means of many households seeking for sports content.

DStv, which entered the Kenyan market in 1995, slashed its monthly payments by between five and 30 percent last month. Subscription fees for the cheapest package, Access, is Sh900 a month. Those on Premium, the most expensive pay Sh7,500.

Through SuperSport International, DStv owns exclusive rights to broadcast EPL until the 2022 season, making it impossible for competitors to come in now. It also has rights for UCL until 2021 season.

Shared DStv signal or use of live streaming is becoming common especially in rented houses, depressing revenues of MultiChoice that is already facing competition.

There is increasing competition as home internet connections from providers push up demand for on-the-go streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix and its own Showmax.