25 June 2019

Kenya: KCB Responds to P-Unit's Claim to 'Weka Weka' Phrase

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has told Kenyan music trio P-Unit that they do not own the rights to the phrase 'Weka Weka'.

The bank on Monday, through their lawyers, denied infringing on the copyright of the group's hit song 'Weka Weka' that was released in 2014 in their album, 'Wagenge Hao Tena'.

"The only similarity between your client's (P-Unit) song 'Weka Weka' and KCB's commercial 'Weka Weka na KCB M-pesa' is the phrase, 'weka weka', read a letter addressed to P-Unit from KCB lawyers.

The bank argues that, 'weka' is a Kiswahili word that means 'to put'.

"It is not an original that an artist can claim to have independently conceived since no one can claim custodianship of a language.

"Your Client cannot therefore ride on the phrase 'Weka Weka' for a claim of copyright infringement against KCB as the same is not copyrightable," the bank said.

KCB has been using the tagline 'weka weka' to raise awareness about their savings platform on M-Pesa.

Last week, the trio, Frasha, Gabu and Bon'Eye, said they were considering court action to bar KCB from using the phrase 'Weka Weka' in their campaigna.

They claimed to be the legal owners of the phrase and accuse KCB of using it without their consent.

But in its response, KCB claimed to be the one that coined the phrase 'Weka Weka' and not P-Unit.

"On 29th August, 2011, KCB launched a campaign dubbed as 'Weka Weka promotion' way before your client released the song 'Weka Weka', in 2015," stated the ban.

It added that their latest campaign, 'Weka Weka na KCB M-Pesa' is a continuation of the initial campaign that begun in 2011.

KCB now want P-Unit apologise in terms to be approved by the lending institution and to cease from making the claim against KCB.

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