CAUTION

Copyright board cautions corporates on usage of memes

The board says unauthorized usage of memes amounts to copyright infringement.

In Summary

• The board's concern arose from the use of videos by comic artists Arap Marindich and Tula on various social media platforms.

• Sigei said whereas such content may have been released under the creative commons license, "corporate bodies must consider conducting due diligence on the status of photographs or videos being being tempted to join the fun." 

The board says unless authorized by the content creator, usage of their memes amounts to copyright infringement.
The board says unless authorized by the content creator, usage of their memes amounts to copyright infringement.
Image: COURTESY

The Copyright board has called for caution by corporate entities in the usage of memes generated from creative productions owned by Kenyan artistes.

The board says unless authorized by the content creators, usage of their memes amounts to copyright infringement.

"A meme generated without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement on their copyright particularly the exclusive right to reproduce, copy and adapt and publish since the original video or photograph undergoes some alteration and incorperation of a text," executive director Edward Sigei said.

The board's concern arose from the use of videos by comic artists Arap Marindich and Tula on various social media platforms.

Sigei said the videos were used to create humour and political banter by individuals and corporate entities on their social media platforms raising copyright concerns.

"While the use of memes in social media is tolerated, its creation and use for commercial purposes can attract significant commercial liability and must be cleared from the authors," he added.

Sigei said whereas a video or static image can trend and cause comic relief at any one given time, under the Copyright Act, the copyright holder reserves the exclusive rights to copy, reproduce, make adaptation, publish and broadcast their work.

He said such memes can be exploited for the benefit of the author through advertising and as Non-Fungible-Tokens (NFTs).

Sigei said whereas such content may have been released under the creative commons license, "corporate bodies must consider conducting due diligence on the status of photographs or videos being being tempted to join the fun." 

Arap Marindich's video in which he plays a rally driver has been trending for several weeks now.

Inasmuch as the video is in the Kalenjin language, Marindich's gestures and body language are so  comical even to those that don't understand a single word he says.