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Kecobo says DJs live-streaming music require licence

The Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) now says that disc-jockeys who are live-streaming on social media require a special broadcast licence.

With most people unable to go out due to the curfew imposed by the government, the majority have turned to social media for entertainment.

On the forefront of entertaining people and trying to put food on the table, DJs have sprung up to keep those staying at home dancing and entertained with their live streams of mixes hosted on various social media platforms.

Kecobo on Wednesday said that anyone who violates the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is an infringer of that copyright.

“When a DJ creates a live stream and starts broadcasting music to the Internet, he has become a radio station. He needs licences from copyright owners or Collective Management Organisations (CMOs),” said Kecobo.

Some of the popular DJs who stream their music every week include DJ Joe Mfalme who has a show dubbed Club Quarantine, DJ Kym Nickdee Curfew Party, DJ Moh Cool Runnings and DJ Crème Pyjama Party, among others.

Majority of them, if not all, while streaming live-streams their live mixes, will have a pinned M-Pesa number for contributions from their fans during the performance.

In most of the live streams, there is usually a request to ‘appreciate’ the DJ by sending them money via Mpesa or Paypal.

This removes the content from the protection of fair use as the content becomes commercialised and ceases to be for “non-profit”.

The Copyright Act Cap 130 is Kenya’s primary statue dealing with copyrights.

The Copyright Act provides for fair use or fair dealing under Section 26 (1a) by allowing for fair dealing for the purposes of scientific research, private use, criticism or review, or the reporting of current events subject to acknowledgement of the source.

Kecobo did not say if they will take any legal action against those who are breaking the law by streaming live other people s content.