Nairobi News


Ezekiel Mutua backs Azimio in Sauti Sol row

Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua has faulted the Kenya Copyrights Board (Kecobo) for siding with music group Sauti Sol in a row with Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party for copyright infringement.

Dr Mutua said the statement issued by Kecobo was misleading since Sauti Sol as members of MCSK signed their rights to the society to administer copyright on their behalf.

“This is a totally misleading and misguided statement by KECOBO. We licensed the Raila Odinga Presidential campaign using the existing tariffs gazetted by the government. Our members, including Sauti Sol, have assigned their rights to MCSK to administer copyright on their behalf,” Ezekiel Mutua said.

According to Kecobo, Azimio had violated a copyright law through synchronization of one of the artist songs.

They clarified the party needed a synchronized licence and not the audio licence for which Mr Odinga paid nearly Sh500,000.

“Collective Management Organizations generally issue a license authorizing entities to use the sound recordings for public performance. It is public domain that Azimio has obtained a public performance license allowing it to play both local and international music at its rallies and events,” Kecobo executive director Edward Sigei said.

“However 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. A synchronization license can only be issued by the composer and publisher. They have the authority to negotiate and issue a synchronization license,” he went on.

In a statement issued Monday, Sauti Sol accused Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga of not seeking authorization from them to use the soundtrack of the song in the announcement post of his running mate.

The action they (Sauti Sol) say is a flagrant disregard of their basic and fundamental rights to property and freedom of association.

Azimio coalition using their song without consent at an event where Martha Karua was unveiled as Raila Odinga’s running mate.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, of which Mr Odinga is the party leader, responded to Sauti Sol’s claims with a friendly message.

“We would like to assure our celebrated musical team @sautisol that we love them and appreciate their music so much. The group has carried our country’s flag so high in international fora and every Kenyan appreciates this. Playing their song yesterday was a show of love for their work,” the statement by ODM reads.

Section 38 (c) of the Kenya Copyright Act 2021, stipulates that “any person who causes a literary or musical work, an audio-visual work or a sound recording, to be performed in public at a time when copyright subsists in such work or sound recording and where such performances is an infringement of that copyright, shall be guilty of an offence”.

“Unless he is able to prove that he had acted in good faith and had no reasonable grounds for supposing that copyright would or might be infringed”.

Offenders face a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or a jail sentence of four years or both.

During the 2017 election campaigns, the other two CMOs – the Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) and the Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) – jointly released the same tariffs charged for respective licences.

At the time, presidential candidates parted with Sh400,000 each for the KAMP or PRISK licence, while candidates for the Senate were charged Sh100,000, woman representative and MP Sh50,000, and ward representative Sh12,500.