Court of Appeal declines to offer interim relief to Safaricom against MultiChoice

The Court of Appeal on March 10, 2021 declined to grant Safaricom a request to set aside an interim court order issued last year by the High Court directing Kenya’s largest mobile communications operator and other internet service providers to block domains infringing on Multichoice networks.

All eyes are now set on the Court of Appeal, which has set the ruling on the stay application for the March 19, 2021. In November 2020, the High Court issued a landmark ruling that required Safaricom and Jamii Telkom Limited to pull down and disable 141 sites that were cited for infringing on Multichoice Kenya’s copyright.

At the time, Lady Justice Winfrida Okwany allowed the prayer by Multichoice Kenya to have the websites containing the offending content pulled down as per section 35D (2) of the Copyright Act pending full hearing of the suit on March 3, 2021.

Multichoice Kenya moved to court after Safaricom and Jamii Telkom failed to act on its takedown notices forcing. Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) and Communications Authority (CA) were listed as interested parties in the suit during the high court ruling.

This was the first time that a Kenyan court has sanctioned takedown notice as provided for under section 35B of the Copyright Act as amended in 2019. The law under this section states that, “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.”

Currently, the internet provides numerous ways for attackers to enter proprietary IT systems and networks. Detailed data on frequency, tactics, and results of cybersecurity incidents are scarce.

Though recent reports and data provided on cybercrime, including content piracy over the internet, have identified Kenya as a hotspot, most Kenyans remain unaware of the unintended consequences of their piracy activities.

Early this year, a report by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), showed there was an increase in cybercrimes attributed to an increasingly high number of malware threats, web application attacks, system misconfiguration and online abuse.

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