Kenya’s Creative industry losing Kshs 252 million to online piracy




Partners Against Piracy (PAP) have called for the Implementation of Sections 35 B, C & D of the Copyright Act, in Co-operation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), within the next 100 Days, to help the Creative Industry of Kenya recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic and create over 50,000 new Jobs for the Youth. 

During this year’s World IP Day celebration, themed Intellectual Property and the Youth, the PAP interim Convener & MyMovies.Africa co-founder, Mike Strano, said: “The estimated gross losses to Online Piracy in Kenya costs the industry over Kshs 92 billion per year. That is Kshs 15 billion lost through pirated Music, thereby affecting Artists on Safaricom Baze Music, Boomplay, Mdundo, Spotify and other platforms. Kshs 32 billion lost to pirated Video Content (i.e. affecting Creators on Safaricom Baze, MyMovies.Africa, Netflix, Showmax, YouTube, etc), Kshs 5 billion lost from Cinema, Kshs 8 billion lost from Television (i.e. affecting Creators on MultiChoice, Star Times and local Channels), Kshs 29 billion lost from pirated Books, Magazines and Newspapers and Kshs 3 billion lost in Gaming.”

(TOP: IP Lawyer, Media Presenter and panelist regulator June Gachui leads a panel on Piracy Challenges for the New Generation of Content Creators with Actor and Comedian, Timothy Kimani aka Blessed Njugush, Fashion Designer and Visual Artist, Koincidence, Kui Sun Ngugi, Animator & GM, Chomoka Studios, Ernest Livasia, Actress, Producer and Creative Director, Alfajiri Productions, Sarah Hassan and Musician and CEO, Kaka Empire, King Kaka during the WIPO event).

Additionally, Strano says that yearly, Piracy costs the Government over Kshs 12.69 billion in Value Added Tax, Kshs 2.49 billion in Corporation Tax, Kshs 1.07 billion in Income Tax for Residents and Kshs 1.13 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. Online Piracy is a Cybercrime perpetuated by Terrorists and Global Syndicates, and must be dealt with through Stakeholder participation, especially Internet Service Providers”, says Strano.

Nancy Matimu, MultiChoice Kenya’s MD, highlighted the importance of Piracy knowledge for all. Said Matimu: “I get to interact with many business leaders, law makers and consumers alike who always touch on our price point, but they do not seem to understand that Piracy takes away from the revenue streams of Creatives. There are small business distributing content on various IPs, but they do not know that they are actually participating in a crime.  Piracy sensitisation is the only way we will safeguard the futures of our youth”.

Regarding Legislation and Policy challenges facing the Industry, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) Executive Director Edward Sigei, said: “Creatives, as the Owners of Copyright & Related Rights, are a critical tool in the fight against Piracy. They have influence and reach to advocate for Policies, that directly affect their Revenue streams. This is the only way that we can empower and advocate for our Creative Industry.”

Also in attendance, Kenya Film Commission’s CEO Timothy Owase, added: “For our Film Industry to create wealth, these Laws need to be implemented.  We also need to appreciate the Creators of this Content as contributors to formal business in the country. That is why we as KFC are working with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to collect data on what the Film Industry contributes to the Economy annually.”

This year’s theme for the World Intellectual Property Day was IP and Youth – Innovation for a Better Future, so during the celebration PAP also hosted a Panel Discussion with young creative minds on the Challenges they are facing in the Industry with regards to Piracy.

“Lack of structures in the Music Industry on how we make money from our Art is discouraging”, said King Kaka, rapper and CEO of Kaka Empire. “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.”

Stakeholders who participated in the celebrations were urged to change their attitude and perception towards the Creative Industry, as it could hugely contribute to the growth of the GDP of the country.

“There needs to be a paradigm shift around how Creatives are viewed and respected in Kenya.  “Creative Industry is the next Industrial Revolution in Africa”, said Strano. “Government and Corporates in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Tanzania place a higher Value on their Creatives. Are we going to allow Kenya to be left behind?”

Established in 2019, Partners Against Piracy (PAP) is a multi-sectoral coalition of local and international Associations, Societies and Companies, representing the interests of thousands of Creatives in Kenya and the World, in terms of the Protection of their Intellectual Property against Piracy.

Their most recent action was the mobilisation of local and international Stakeholders against the proposed Repeal of Sections 35 B, C & D in the Copyright Amendment Bill 2021, which would have Removed the Responsibilities of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from the Copyright Act.

They were Successful, with the Sponsor of the Bill, Hon Gladys Wanga, withdrawing the Amendments in February 2022, before the rest of the Bill was passed by Parliament, and subsequently Assented into Law by President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier this month.

Associations, Societies and Companies in the multi-sectoral Creative Industry of Kenya are welcome to join Partners Against Piracy as Members, so that they can move from a Coalition to an Association, and hold Elections in 12-18 months.

PAP Kenya is part of a growing Network of other Chapters in Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

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