Kenyan Musicians reject Kecobo’s Move Allowing PRISK and MCSK to Collect Royalties

Tough times

Kenyan Musicians at a Presser

On Wednesday, a section of Kenyan Musicians rejected the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) decision that awarded three content management organizations to collect royalties on their behalf.

In a statement, the musicians questioned KECOBO’s Executive Director Edward Sigei’s decision to allow the three; Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) and Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), to collect royalties on their behalf behind Sports CS Rashid Echesa’s back.

Unconstitutionally Move

“We musicians would like to strongly reject the actions of one Mr Edward Sigei the CEO of KECOBO’s decision to award MCSK, KAMP & PRISK a joint license to collect royalties from users on our behalf. We have sought answers from Sports Arts and Culture Cabinet Secretary Rashid Mohammed Echesa on how the KECOBO CEO managed to unconstitutionally issue the license letter on a Sunday yet we had sought to solve the problems in royalty collection and we were in the process of awaiting the CS guidance.

The CS informed us that KECOBO CEO went against his directive not to issue any communication on licenses or the licenses before outstanding conditions that denied MCSK a license in 2017 were resolved and all stakeholders are on one page with a lasting solution to the problems that have existed in the whole business of royalty collection” reads part of the statement.

Lacks quorum

The artistes added that the move was unconstitutional and KECOBO lacks quorum to make such a decision as their term ended on October 31, 2018.

“Its good to take note that, Mcsk was deregistered in 2017 because they collected money and did not pay artists. In 2017 and 2018 they continued to collect illegally and not paying artists, further the court found them guilty and ordered kecobo to take action. Instead if kecobo taking action, they have gone ahead to license the same organization which has not paid any artist in years. Immediately after the board deferred the decision to issue a license, the board term ended on 31st October 2018. Kecobo does not have a new board which would have considered the issuing of a license. It would appear that Mr. Sigei is acting on his own since kecobo has no board members. This is against the law"

"Also, the board of KECOBO made a decision to defer the issuing of a license for authors, composers and publishers in what now appears to be a calculated move to benefit some directors. Mr. Katana and David Mureithi who were part of the kecobo board that deferred the decision are now directors of mcsk. In our view this is a conflict of interest and abuse of office.We can also establish that the KECOBO board does not have enough quorum to execute the mandate of issuing licenses to CMO so how did CEO Edward Sigei attain powers to issue licenses as KECOBO letter from Sunday 20th Jan 2019 dictates”

Kenyan Musicians

“We are wondering what the emergency is to issue these licenses to collect billions came from till a state office delivered an official statement on a Sunday, yet we have been seeking to solve the corruption and theft of Musicians money for years.

We also wonder why KECOBO asked for a public participation on 24th Jan 2019 dated 14th Jan2019 then on Sunday 20th Jan 2019 they make a statement issuing license to CMOs KAMP PRISK and MCSK allowing them to collect billions when they have not shown us where the money they illegally collected for the past years was used! How can we come to participate in a process to address licenses that are already issued? We have uploaded this statement and corroborating letters on social media with #KecoboIMPUNITY”

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