The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has warned members of the public against participating in Cadbury’s ‘In Our Own Words’ campaign citing exploitation by the chocolate company.
The campaign requires Kenyan writers to submit original stories that would be turned into storybooks to help promote the reading culture among children.
The original stories collected through the campaign will be used on the Cadbury website digital library and used across various platforms associated with the initiative.
The management stated that the rights to the stories created will remain with the company and writers are not entitled to any payment besides a ‘thank you note’ once their stories have been submitted.
“Participants will not be compensated for their original stories, by submitting the stories the participant is donating their story and therefore, will not be story author upon publishing,” read part of the terms.
In a statement on Monday, KECOBO, however, warned that the terms of the campaign were unethical and degrading.
“The campaign requires authors to forfeit their moral rights to be recognised as an author in connection with their work as well as their economic rights in their literary work in return for a mere thank you note,” said KECOBO.
“KECOBO has reviewed the terms of the campaign and found them unethical and amounts to subjecting writers to degrading treatment while taking away their intellectual property rights.”
The board said it had written to Cadbury to review the terms of the competition or withdraw it entirely.
“The public is advised to avoid the campaign until authors’ rights are well recognised and paid for,” said KECOBO.
Article 40 of the Kenyan constitution guarantees the right to property of any description which includes intellectual property of which Copyright is one. The author of a copyright work owns both economic rights and moral rights in the work.
“While economic rights can be transferred for a remuneration under Section 26 of the Copyright Act, moral rights under Section 32 of the Act are not transmissible under any circumstances,” added KECOBO.