By Horizon News Reporter
The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has today received its CMO operating license which was being held by the regulator contrary to the law and established procedures.
The issuance of the license today Wednesday 17th May followed a directive by the Parliamentary Committee on Sports & Culture chaired by Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama, who last week ordered KECOBO to unconditionally issue MCSK with the license and support enforcement to ensure that all users of copyrighted musical works paid the tariffs gazetted by Government for use of music in their businesses.
MCSK CEO Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, during his submissions to the Parliamentary Committee last week, complained that the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) had frustrated his organisation’s efforts to effectively execute its mandate. He said that by refusing to issue MCSK with an Operating license and encouraging users not to pay for music belonging to MCSK members, KECOBO had become an impediment to the growth of the music industry.
“KECOBO recalcitrant behaviour and sabotage has totally frustrated our efforts to serve our members effectively and efficiently. Most business premises across the country, public services vehicles and broadcasters have been exploiting our members’ works for free as KECOBO hides behind technicalities to deny us licenses,” he said, adding that compliance levels for the past five years have been below 10%.
He said MCSK had not been able to effectively collect and distribute royalties to our members.
But yesterday the MCSK team led by
Its Chairman Mr. Lazarus Muli, Vice Chairman Joseph Shisia and Dr. Ezekiel Mutua met with KECOBO officials led by the Executive Director Edward Sigei following a directive by the Parliamentary Committee and agreed on a working relationship, paving way for the issuance of the License.
Dr. Mutua thanked the Parliamentary Committee on Sports & Culture for its intervention and pledged his commitment to ensure that artists are effectively served by MCSK.
“With the license and support of the Government, our members will soon be laughing all the say to the bank,” he said.
The issuance of the CMO license to MCSK by KECOBO brings to an end the two-year tussle between MCSK and the regulator.
The Departmental Committee on Sports and Culture chaired by Webuye West Member of Parliament Hon. Dan Wanyama had vowed to streamline the music industry by reviewing the Copyright Act and strengthening the CMOs.
“CMOs are private companies and the Government should not appear in any way to micromanage them. The work of the Government should be to provide oversight and a conducive environment for CMOs to thrive as businesses so as to serve their members effectively. This is what we want to see,” said Mr. Wanyama.
Dr. Mutua urged consumers of musical works to pay for the same. He said many musicians were facing serious financial strains because their music is used for free because the regulator had meddled with the CMO operations to the point of publicly telling businesses not to pay.
Yesterday’s meeting between MCSK and KECOBO signals a new era for uniting artists, streamlining operational and legislative framework for the CMOs, added Dr. Mutua.