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Government stops MCSK from collecting music royalties

By Sinda Matiko January 13th, 2023 2 min read

The game of musical chairs is again pitting the Kenya Copyright Board of Kenya (KECOBO) on the one hand and Collective Management Organizations (CMO) on the other.

Four months after the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) applied for a  new license for operations in 2023, KECOBO has declined the CMO’s request application.

In a letter dated January 12, 2023, addressed to MCSK’s Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua, the government institution explained why it would not be renewing the CMO’s license for this year.

Also read: 2,000 bob in royalties is all you’ll get, MCSK boss tells disgruntled musicians

In the memo, signed by Executive Director Edward Sigei, KECOBO faults MCSK for contravening section 46 of the Copyright Act No. 12 of 2001 and the Copyright(Collective Management)  Regulations2020.

“As per my last communication addressed to your advocates, I wish to inform youthat your license application was incomplete for non-payment of requisite feefor 2021 and 2023 licensing period and failure to provide the followingdocuments required by the Copyright regulations 2020:
a. List of beneficiaries and amounts paid in royalties for 2022
b. Audited Financial Statements for period up to June 2022
c. Failure to provide an authenticated list of members.” Sigei states in the circular.

Also read: MCSK explains why some Kenyan musicians are not getting their royalties

As such, KECOBO could not process MCSK’s application as it cannot ascertain the CMOs’ capacity to manage the royalties for authors, composers, arrangers, and publisher category of members through a full review and analysis of the documents of application presented.

With the application denied, KECOBO has ordered MSCK to stop collecting music royalties immediately.

“This is therefore to inform you that your application has failed to meet thestatutory standard for the above reasons set out. You are directed to ceasecollection forthwith.”

This is not the first time KECOBO has denied MCSK a license. In 2017 MCSKrenewal application was declined by KECOBO over similar reasons.

The board said MCSK had failed to provide a list of its members, its audited financial statement for 2016 and amounts received in royalties.

Of the four CMOS in the country, MCSK boasts the highest number of members, of 0ver 10,0000.

Also read: Nonini joins American music society after ditching MCSK