MCSK, KAMP kicked out as KECOBO licenses PAVRISK to collect royalties for Kenyan musicians

MCSK, KAMP kicked out as KECOBO licenses PAVRISK to collect royalties for Kenyan musicians

Kenya Copyright Board Chairperson Joshua Kutuny during a past address. PHOTO | COURTESY

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has approved a one-year licence for the Performing and Audio-Visual Rights Society of Kenya (PAVRISK) as the sole organization charged with collecting and distributing royalties to artists.

KECOBO Board Chairman Joshua Kutuny made the announcement on Thursday saying the decision was arrived at after a thorough vetting process aimed at solving the perennial issues affecting the sector.

He noted that PAVRISK - formerly PRISK - was picked out of five interested Collective Management Organizations (CMO) after demonstrating the ability to regulate the affairs of royalty collection and distribution single-handedly.

Kutuny argued that having a single CMO enables the board to cut on operation expenses and manage resources prudently in a bid to ensure fair distribution of at least 70% royalties to artists.

“To cure the wrangles between the CMOs and to make it easy to regulate the affairs of royalty collection and distribution, the Board approved the licensing of a single organization to manage all the rights in the music sector,” stated Kutuny.

“This will help cut costs and increase royalty distribution to artists to at least 70 per cent of the collection. Consequently, the Board approved a one-year license for PAVRISK to manage all rights in music and for performers in the audiovisual sector.”

In settling for PAVRISK, Kutuny cited the CMO licensing process which has been ongoing for the last two months starting in April this year.

This came after the government urged the Board to streamline the sector to check on mismanagement of resources and unfair distribution of royalties following protracted outcry by Kenyan artists.

The four other CMOs that had applied for the licence included; the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Film Makers Rights Achievers of Kenya (FRAK), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), and Collective Management Services.

KECOBO recently suspended the operations of three CMOs - MCSK, KAMP, and Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) – after the six-month provisional licences they had been granted on November 8, 2023 expired.

According to Kutuny, the three CMOs had been using the same system to collect royalties and using common staff members while two of them were even sharing an office.

This, he stated, was despite the fact that each of the three entities had its own CEO and a separate board of directors, thereby leading to increased cost of operations.

He also noted a lack of transparency in collecting and distributing royalties, which resulted in the suffering of Kenyan artists, enhanced corruption, as well as wanton looting of the musicians’ hard-earned money. 

As PAVRISK takes over and starts to collect royalties with immediate effect, Kutuny however noted that the CMO will not manage the rights for publishing and film producers for the time being.

“The Board will shortly commence the process of negotiation for new tariffs to be published in the Kenya Cazette by December 2024 to respond to the call to lowerthe cost of doing business for copyright work users,” stated Kutuny.

He further went ahead to announce a leadership change at the Board in the position of Executive Director that will now see “George Nyakweba taking over from Edward Sigei in acting capacity pending the recruitment of the new CEO to be completed by September 2024.”


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