Wednesday, May 25, 2022

PAP rejects calls to repeal The Copyright (Amendment) Act 2019

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Partners Against Piracy (PAP) has rejected the calls to repeal the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2019.

PAP is a multi-sectoral Coalition, of local and international Associations, Societies and Companies, representing the interests of thousands of Creatives in Kenya and the World.

On 11th December 2021, Kenya’s National Assembly published an Invitation for Public Participation on the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021 [National Assembly Bill No.44 of 2021].

PAP are gravely concerned about the Proposal to repeal Sections 35B, 35C and 35D of the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2019, via the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021 currently in Parliament.

The lobby group says Sections 35B, 35C and 35D are game-changing provisions for Kenya, and the first of its kind in Africa (but common Internationally). 

These provisions protect the Creative Industry in Kenya by providing incentives and a legal basis for better co-operation from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to support Rights Holders in their fight against Piracy. The provisions were assented into Law by President Uhuru Kenyatta in October 2019.

PAP says the proposed Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021 [National Assembly Bill No.44 of 2021] contravenes Provisions of the Constitution of Kenya, which affirms that Intellectual Property Rights are akin to any other Proprietary Rights, whereby the State has a fundamental responsibility and promises to safeguard Intellectual Property Rights of the people of Kenya (see 1 in Fact Sheet enclosed).

Piracy is currently devastating the Creative Industry of Kenya.  PAP estimates that Piracy is costing the Industry KES 92 billion per year.  This includes a KES 16.25 billion loss in Taxes to the

Government and KES 14.31 billion losses to thousands of local Content Creators, like Actors, Animators, Authors,

Cartoonists, Comedians, Composers, Dancers, Filmmakers, Game Developers, Graphic Designers, Illustrators, Musicians, Music Producers, Photographers, Podcasters, Publishers, Television Producers, Videographers, Writers, etc.

With the Creative Industry of Kenya ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ISP related Provisions in the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2019 are an opportunity to help our Creatives quickly recover, attract local & foreign investment and create jobs for thousands of unemployed youths.

Furthermore, the Repeal of these important Provisions will continue to abet the illegal operations involved in offering Pirated content Online, including crimes like Tax Evasion, Identity Theft, Data Ransom, Money Laundering and Fraud.  These same Crime Groups are also involved in the Trafficking of Humans, Organs, Drugs, Weapons and more, as well as Terrorism, Contract Killing, Counterfeiting, etc (see 3 in Fact Sheet enclosed).

Instead of Repealing these important Provisions, our Parliament should rather consider Changes to make the Law clearer and more effective, in full cooperation with the ISPs, thus ensuring the Sustainability of the Kenya Creative Industry and the Safety of our Country from such Crimes.

Furthermore, the Provisions ensuring the swift Takedown of illegal Content, also benefit the ISPs, who are now becoming Owners of Content and Platforms themselves.  Such a Repeal will result in those ISPs not being able to Recoup their Investments, as Online Piracy steals up to 99% of potential Revenue.

Partners Against Piracy appeals to Honourable Wanga and the Twelfth Parliament, to please Remove the Repeal of Sections 35B, 35C and 35D from the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021, to Avoid further Losses to the Creative Industry and the Government – after all, the Creative Industry has Suffered for Decades from the Unfair Competition from Piracy, so now Deserves better Protection, especially to Recover from COVID-19. Let’s please Return the Creative Industry of Kenya to her former glory and beyond.

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