October 23, 2018

High Court stops MCSK from collecting royalties

The High Court ordered the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) to stop collecting royalties from music users and businesses.

The High Court in Kisumu issued the order following a petition filed by the Kisumu Bar Owners Association and Kisumu Green Garden restaurant who accused the MCSK of harassing them while they lacked a valid license to collect the royalties and were not gazetted as stipulated in law.

Judge David Majanja ruled that the MCSK collected royalties illegally and therefore the order barring them from collecting the royalties was the right decision.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this application, the respondent whether by itself, it’s agents or servants or otherwise be and is hereby restrained from demanding and collecting royalties for the exploitation of performing and reproduction rights of authors (songwriters), composers, publishers and arrangers of copyrighted musical works form users.

The MCSK license had expired on December 31 and their application to renew was declined and communicated through a letter dated February 17, 2017 by Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO),” Judge Majanja ruled.

In January, MCSK was in another case accused of owing musicians Sh3.6 billion in royalties accruing over one year.

MCSK is a copyright collection society that collects royalties on behalf of authors, composers, arrangers, and publishers of music.

It collects royalties for public performances and mechanical reproductions.

The Kenya Copyright Board supervises the collection and disbursement of royalties.

Related organizations include the Performers Rights Society of Kenya and the Kenya Association of Music Producers.

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