9 November 2012

Kenya: Creative Commons Comes to Kenya

Local content developers could see a major boost as Kenya finally joins the rest of the creative world to protect them online.

The formal launch of Creative Commons Kenya gives creatives the right to exercise their copyright power and keep off those looking to use their content to benefit themselves financially.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that provides free licenses and other legal tools, with no brokering lawyers, to give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardised way to grant copyright permissions and get credit for their creative work while allowing others to copy, distribute and make specific uses of it.

Tobias Schonwetter, the Africa Regional Coordinator, said CC offers creatives the right to exercise their copyright power. The licenses enable people to easily change their copyright terms from the default of "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved." This promotes dispersal and sharing in ways that traditional copyright shuts down.

A Creative Commons license is based on copyright. So they apply to all works that are protected by copyright law like journals, books, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio and visual recordings.

You as the creator of the work and/or licensor, may at any time decide to use it commercially. Including drawing royalties. People who want to copy or adapt your work, "primarily for monetary compensation or financial gain" must get your separate permission first.

"With digital media comes free access to creative work that traditional copyright laws structure doesn't quite cover," Schonwetter said during the launch at Strathmore Business school yesterday.

However this does not only apply to online content but also offline. Well-known websites using CC licenses are wikipedia, the WhiteHouse,and Open Educational Resources Africa.

Alex Gakuru, the regional coordinator for Africa, says a diverse number of local content creators, users and stakeholders - including musicians, performers, visual artists, filmmakers and video producers, writers, poets, publishers, students, educators, academic institutions, copyright enforcement and connected entities, the government and other state agencies - have expressed their strong interest in Creative Commons licensing gaining root in Kenya.

The Ministry of Information and Communication said it is looking to set up a creative and technology centre as part of the ICT Master Plan which will be supported by the government but run by the private sector.

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