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Kecobo clarifies on livestreaming fees as DJs threaten to boycott Kenyan music

The Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) has clarified the tariffs for DJs livestreaming their sets following an uproar from the entertainers.

On Wednesday, Kecobo announced that DJs required a special license from the body or a Collective Management Organization (CMO) for their live online stream sets.

“When a DJ creates a live stream and starts broadcasting music to the internet, he has become a radio station. He needs licenses from copyright owners or CMOs,” the board stated.

Reports emerged

Thereafter, reports emerged indicating that DJs would be required to part with Sh200,000 for a special broadcast license from Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), one of the three CMOS in the country.

The reports irked most DJs, with a section of them on Thursday resolving to drop Kenyan music from their sets until the fees are waived.

Most DJ WhatsApp groups had a common message calling on disc jockeys to blacklist Kenyan music from their streams until Kecobo waives the fees.

However, Kecobo Executive Director Edward Sigei has clarified that; “In the case of public performance in the traditional sense (in an unlicensed venue, no streaming), a DJ would be required to pay for a license from the CMOs. The license applies to DJs who aren’t attached to a licensed business premises like clubs, or who perform at venues that haven’t obtained the license from CMOs. The fee is payable per gig/event or annual license. The tariff fee for Deejays performance is Sh10, 000 annually or Sh750 per event payable to the CMOs joint license.”

Stream performances

Sigei went on to state that for the DJs who would like to livestream performances, the aspect is beyond the ambit and jurisdiction of Kecobo and the CMOs as such are subject to the terms and conditions of the platforms they may wish to use.

“The reason is that recorded music in any jurisdiction is subject to rights management information monitoring technology that enables owners to account for its usage on digital platforms. The technological measures may trigger a complaint or copyright strike that lead to blockage of the stream. It is recommended that a DJ or any other digital user wishing to exploit recorded music on digital platforms must whitelist of their channels with right holders as per terms and conditions of the platforms. Therefore DJs are required to acquaint themselves with terms and conditions of service of the platforms that they intend to use and comply including paying for music usage locally”