COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT

Win for content creators as court orders pirating websites blocked

Those to be mainly affected by the ruling are sports streaming websites which pop up on social media platforms during live matches.

In Summary

• The ruling on Thursday directed Internet Service Providers (ISP) to work with the government and immediately block the streaming sites flagged for infringing on copyrighted materials.

• Those to be mainly affected by the ruling are sports streaming websites which pop up on social media platforms during live matches and allow internet users to watch games and shows free of charge.

An internet user browsing the internet.
An internet user browsing the internet.
Image: FILE

Content creators have gotten a reprieve after the High Court ordered the closure of 44 pirating websites in the country.

The ruling on Thursday directed Internet Service Providers (ISP) to work with the government and immediately block the streaming sites flagged for infringing on copyrighted materials.

Those to be mainly affected by the ruling are sports streaming websites which pop up on social media platforms during live matches and allow internet users to watch games and shows free of charge.

Other sites that have not been licensed to operate in the country or rebroadcast content will also be affected by the ruling.

The ruling is heaven sent for content creators who will now reap maximum returns from their work.

While delivering the ruling, Justice Wilfrida Okwany faulted ISPs for failing to exercise their mandate in complying with an order against copyright infringing sites.

The court heard that MultiChoice had issued the internet providers with a notice dated October 29, 2019 to take down the websites but they had delayed to do so.

This was after the pay channel filed a suit that sought to compel Safaricom PLC and Jamii Telecom Limited to block live sports streaming sites on their networks.

The court last year issued temporary orders to the ISPs to block the streaming sites but the order was stayed by the Appellate court following an application by Safaricom.

Justice Okwany noted that the ISPs ought to have complied with the block order since MultiChoice Kenya had lawfully issued valid take down notices.

She explained that the ISPs did not give any lawful excuse for their failure to comply with the take down notices.

After Thursday’s ruling, Safaricom requested and was granted 72 hours to comply with the latest order.

Section 35b of the Copyright Act empowers an aggrieved individual to seek a court order against a person or entity facilitating the infringement of copyright.

"A person whose rights have been infringed by content to which access is being offered by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) may request by way of a takedown notice that the ISP removes the infringing content," the Copyright Act states.

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