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Stop creating memes from copyrighted content - KECOBO

KECOBO insist only copyright holders have the right to make adaptation to their content

Screenshot from viral TikTok video created by comedians Arap Marindich and Tula Chemoget

Kenyans have been warned against creating memes from copyrighted content as only the copyright holder has the exclusive rights to make any changes to their content.

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A meme is an image, video or text used in social media for humorous or political banter and illustrative of a line of thought on a topic under discussion.

Memes are in most cases static images created from a photograph, illustration, text, or video that is protected by copyright.

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) made the declaration while addressing a video created by comedians; Arap Marindich and Tula that has gone viral.

The video which has been shared not only across Africa but the world shows the two named individuals imitating rally drivers and co-drivers who recently took part in the World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally in Naivasha.

In the video which was initially shared through their TikTok account, the two can be heard speaking Kalenjin, where they explain how tough the rally was but were glad they could finish the race albeit at position 21.

Following the video going viral, Kenyans and citizens from other countries as well as corporates have taken screenshots of Arap Marindich's facial expressions and created memes out of them.

It is that specific action that has infuriated KECOBO who claim the memes are evidence of a copyright infringement.

"A meme generated without the authority of the Copyright owner is an infringement on their copyright particularly the exclusive rights to reproduce, copy, adapt and publish since the original photograph or video undergoes some alteration and incorporation of a text."

In a statement seen by this writer, the State Corporation went on to explain that they are not against the creation and sharing of memes but individuals and corporate bodies should first seek permission from the copyright holders before following suit.

"While the use of memes in social media is tolerated, its creation and use for commercial purposes can attract significant civil liability and must be cleared from the authors," read the statement in part.

KECOBO through Executive Director Edward Sigei concluded the statement by encouraging corporates to do their due diligence before circulating any memes.

"Consequently, corporate bodies must consider conducting due diligence on the status of photographs or videos before being tempted to join the fun," concluded Sigei.

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