The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) Board of Directors has declined to renew the licence for Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) for the year 2017.
KECOBO’s Board of Directors took the decision after MCSK failed to submit a list of its members and amounts received in royalties. It also failed to produce its latest audited financial statements (in this case for the year ending June 2016). These are mandatory documents required to determine suitability to function as a collecting society as directed by the Copyright laws.
Under Regulation 16 of the Copyright Regulations, 2004, each Collecting Society is required to file an annual report and copies of Audited Accounts.
“In the absence of audited financial statement and a list of members who were paid royalties in the last one year, the Board found that the society did not qualify for renewal since an assessment of the society’s performance for the past year was not possible. As such the application for renewal was rejected,” explained KECOBO’s executive director Edward Sigei.
“MCSK failed to produce their audited accounts even after being invited two times since October last year to do so by the Legal and Technical Affairs Committee of the Board,” said Sigei.
The denial of licence, Sigei explained, means that MCSK must cease its operations of collecting of royalties until their license application is reviewed after submission of the required documents or a suitable collecting society is appointed in its place.
KECOBO has hitherto registered three collecting societies working in the area of music namely Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) representing authors, composers and publishers; Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) representing producers of sound recordings and Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) representing performers.
The Collecting Societies are required to be companies limited by guarantee and are expected to be established exclusively for the purpose of collecting and distribution of royalties to a particular class of rights holders collectively.
Sigei said the Board recommended the renewal of licences for KAMP and PRISK after they fulfilled all the set requirements. “The licence for KAMP comes with a condition to raise the ratio of royalties paid to its members to above 50 per cent from the current 20 per cent,” he said.
At the same time, a license has been issued to Reprographic Rights Society of Kenya (KOPIKEN) to collect royalties on behalf of book publishers and authors.