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Kenya’s creative industry loses Sh252 million every day to piracy



By Judith Gicobi

According to an industry lobby organization, Kenya’s creative sector loses Sh92 billion every year owing to internet piracy as key elements of the Copyright Act are stalled.

According to Partners Against Piracy (PAP), unauthorized music costs Sh15 billion, pirated video costs Sh32 billion, and film costs Sh5 billion.

Another Sh8 billion is lost due to television, Sh29 billion is lost due to pirated books, magazines, and newspapers, and Sh3 billion is lost due to gaming.

Furthermore, piracy costs the government over Sh12.69 billion in value-added tax, Sh2.49 billion in corporate tax, Sh1.07 billion in taxable income for citizens, and Sh1.13 billion in income tax for non-residents each year, according to Mike Strano, PAP Interim Convener and Co-Founder of MyMovies.Africa.

“Pirates do not register their businesses and do not pay tax. They also do not create employment. Reducing piracy in Kenya can create at least 50,000 jobs,” according to Strano, who spoke at this year’s World IP Day ceremony, which was titled Intellectual Property and the Youth.

The lobby is now urging the government to act quickly and enforce sections 35 B, C, and D of the Copyright Act, in collaboration with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), in the next 100 days, in order to assist the creative industry in recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and creating over 50,000 new opportunities for young people.

He went on to say that online piracy is a cybercrime conducted by terrorists and global syndicates that should be addressed with the help of all stakeholders, including ISPs.

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Nancy Matimu, Managing Director of MultiChoice Kenya, stated that some local enterprises involved in piracy are unaware that it is unlawful.

“Creatives, as the Owners of Copyright and Related Rights, are a critical tool in the fight against Piracy.”  Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) Executive Director Edward Sigei stated of the sector’s legislative and regulatory problems.

The lack of frameworks in the music industry on how artists gain revenue from their creativity is frustrating, according to King Kaka, rapper and CEO of Kaka Empire. “If these structures were put in place, the government would view the creative industry as a multi-billion shilling sector that is taxable. The relevant bodies mandated to oversee these issues should step up,” he added.

Stakeholders who attended the events were asked to improve their attitudes and perceptions of the creative industry, as it has the potential to significantly influence the country’s GDP growth.

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