The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) held online zoom meetings with artists and other copyright owners led by Creative Society of Kenya representatives to update them on the planned digital platform that was announced by the President on 6th April 2020.
During the meeting, which was requested by Creative Society of Kenya, the Executive Director Mr. Edward Sigei revealed that KECOBO had summarized the issues raised by industry stakeholders into five items; The amount collected and the amount distributed by CMOs not known, The cost of collection (admin cost) was too high, the distribution was unfair to high value artists, lack of trusted record of rights holders and finally CMOs harassing businesses by seeking entry to measure and prepare invoices.
Mr. Sigei informed the team from Creative Society of Kenya that the Government of Kenya had consulted with technical persons and approved specification that would see the development of a KECOBO and CMOs ICT system modules. The modules planned for the final system are; The National Rights Registry, Media Monitoring system, Royalty Collection module, Royalty Collection module and Distribution module.
Other interventions that were reported during the meeting include; KECOBO now receives reports of transactions on the joint CMO account, Reduction of CMO Board costs through harmonization and approval of retainer, 60 per cent scientific distribution and 40 percent general distribution as well as a capping on admin cost at 30%. If 30 per cent passes a certain limit, the fixed budget limit holds.
Creative Society Chairman Hubert Nakitare (aka Nonini) asked the KECOBO Executive Director to follow up with the CMOs on the issue of social-cultural fund and the Skiza funds still the joint account since 2017. Nonini also raised the issue of audit of all CMO accounts since 2015 to date to which Mr. Sigei confirmed that the audit would be done at the cost of rights holders’ royalties.
The Executive Director concluded the meeting by asking artists to be patient as systems are being put in place in response to their complaints. He also indicated that all steps are being taken fast track the process and that CMOs are not currently collecting license fees due to the corona virus situation.He sought to allay fears that the system is meant to get rid of or replace CMOs.
“The CMO ICT system is developed with Music CMOs perspective and meant to be operated by the CMO staff together with users and rights holders. Remember it’s the CMOs staff that will inspect and audit the system on behalf of members”, Mr. Edward Sigei