22 January 2019

Kenya: Sweet Tunes Bring Good Fortunes to 3 Kenyan CMOs

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has shortlisted three CMOS to be collecting royalties on behalf of musicians this year.

KECOBO says that following a rigorous process of vetting that included public participation, the three CMOs were awarded the license to operate in 2019.

"KECOBO has granted licenses to Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Performance Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) to collect royalties in 2019. The three CMOs were licensed after meeting stringent conditions set by KECOBO's Board," stated a statement from the board.

KAMP was licensed to collect on behalf of producers of sound recording. PRISK was licensed to collect on behalf of performers. The two organisations therefore retained their licenses.

As for Music Copyright Society makes a comeback in place of Music Publishers Association of Kenya (MPAKE).

KECOBO's Executive Director Edward Sigei said the Board had agreed to issue MCSK a license after being in the cold for two years after it met stringent conditions set by the regulator.

To secure a license, MCSK was required to hold elections, restructure its management, agree to a forensic audit of its financial records of the last two years and accept an independent Board Chairperson to oversee a turnaround.

It was also required to obtain new letters of authorisation from its members and provide further details of its members.

Announcing the Board's decision, Sigei said: "The three CMOs shall be required to issue a joint invoice and collect jointly. They will, therefore, issue a joint license."

"All the three CMOs will be required to distribute at least 70 % of the revenues they collect as royalties to their members," added Sigei.

They were also required to submit their 2019 budgets to KECOBO before the award of the license to control wastage.

David Muriithi, a former Board Member at KECOBO has been deployed to chair the MCSK Board for a period of one year to assist in reforming the organisation.

During the period, he will oversee corporate and management reform.

A forensic audit covering a period of two years will be undertaken within six months.

KECOBO's management will analyse the CMOs Memorandum and Articles of Association to find areas of wastage and non-compliance and advise accordingly.

In addition, the Directors of the three Collecting Societies will be subjected to further corporate governance training in due course.

These and other conditions are interim measures to enhance management until the Copyright Amendment Bill is passed.

The legislation is expected by June 2019.

"The Pending Copyright Amendment Bill, which is before Senate, will give KECOBO more flexibility in dealing with CMOs management when passed and assented to by the President," said Sigei.

To help in activating joint collection, KECOBO has organised a public participation forum on Thursday January 24 in Nairobi.

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