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Explainer: What will happen to you if you copy David Moya’s TikTok dance moves

By Winnie Mabel February 16th, 2023 2 min read

Social media personality David Moya, renowned for his dance routines when surprising people with gifts sent from clients who hire him, announced earlier this week that he had began the process of copyrighting his dance moves after seeing people badly using his creative works.

Nairobi News earlier reported that Moya threatened to take legal action against anyone who copied his original dances and his brand which he uses to earn a living. The publication also found that Moya can legitimately copyright his dance moves because they are choreographed for an intended audience, and have enough details to be consistently performed in various occasions.

Moya surprises his clients on events such as baby showers, birthdays, graduations or simply, when someone wants to show a loved one some love. The surprises are recorded and later shared on social media with messages from his clients to the people they wanted to surprise.

Also read: Explainer – David Moya can legitimately copyright famous TikTok dance moves

The copyright  regulations in Kenya provides that a person can copyright their original works and they are protected for their entire lifetime plus 50 years after their death. If the author is unknown, the period of protection is 50 years from the date it is published. In case of a joint authorship, copyright will last for the lifetime of the authors and 50 years after the death of the last author.

Moya’s intention to copyright his dances, however, rubbed some people the wrong way as many claimed that Moya was dancing common dances and to songs by other creatives but they did not earn from his performances.

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The Kenya Copyright Board states that Infringement occurs if a person other than the author or someone authorized by him, does any of the following acts: reproduction, translation, adaptation, performance, sale or hire of the work. These rights are exclusive domain of the author/owner. In the past, Moya David called out another dancer who was using his dance routines, dressing and hairstyle to do the same performances he does.

Going forward, should anyone infringe on Moya’s copyright rights, the consequences that await them include: civil action whereby Moya can institute civil action against the infringing person
and is entitled to obtain injunctions to stop the infringing action and receive damages for losses suffered or account of profits

Additionally, Moya can decide to pursue criminal action against the infringer. The
criminal sanctions include: maximum fines of up to Sh 800,000, maximum custodial sentence of up to 10 years or both fines and custodial sentences. Criminal and civil actions are non-exclusive and may proceed concurrently.

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