Creative industry loses Sh252m daily to piracy

Lobby group wants laws protecting the sector effected within 100 days

In Summary

• The industry is losing Sh90 billion a year to opportunities, say stakeholders

MultiChoice Kenya managing director Nancy Matimu
MultiChoice Kenya managing director Nancy Matimu

Creative industry advocates Partners Against Piracy have called for legal protections against copyright infringement to be implemented within 100 days.

Marking this year’s World IP Day celebration last Wednesday at Studio 4, PAP interim convener Mike Strano said this would stem losses of Sh92 billion a year to online piracy.

That will help the industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and create more than 50,000 new jobs for the youth, Strano added. He is also the co-founder of MyMovies.Africa. 

This year's event was themed 'Intellectual Property and the Youth'.

Strano said Sh15 billion is lost through pirated music, affecting artistes on Safaricom Baze Music, Boomplay, Mdundo, Spotify, and so on.

Another Sh32 billion is lost to pirated video content, affecting creators on Safaricom Baze, MyMovies.Africa, Netflix, Showmax, YouTube, and so on.

Some Sh5 billion is lost from cinema, Sh8 billion from TV (affecting creators on MultiChoice, Star Times and local channels), Sh29 billion from pirated books, magazines and newspapers, and Sh3 billion in gaming.

Additionally, Strano says that yearly, piracy costs the government more than Sh12.69 billion in value-added tax, Sh2.49 billion in corporation tax, Sh1.07 billion in income tax for residents and Sh1.13 billion in income tax for non-residents.

"Pirates do not register their businesses and do not pay tax. They also do not create employment. Reducing piracy in Kenya can create at least 50,000 jobs," he said.

"Online piracy is a cybercrime perpetuated by terrorists and global syndicates and must be dealt with through stakeholder participation, especially Internet Service Providers."

MultiChoice Kenya managing director Nancy Matimu said piracy sensitisation is the only way to safeguard the futures of our youth.

"There is a small business distributing content on various IPs, but they do not know they are participating in a crime."

Kenya Copyright Board executive director Edward Sigei said legislation and policy challenges facing the industry need to be resolved.

"Creatives, as the owners of copyright and related rights, are a critical tool in the fight against piracy."

Kenya Film Commission CEO Timothy Owase, added, "We need to appreciate the creators of this content as contributors to formal business in the country," he said.

King Kaka, who was a panellist, said the lack of structures in the music industry on how we make money from our art is discouraging.

"If these structures were put in place, the government would view the creative industry as a multi-billion shilling sector that is taxable. The relevant bodies mandated to oversee these issues should step-up."

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