The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) and Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) have issued conflicting statements regarding the copyright infringement row between boy band Sauti Sol and Raila-led Azimio la Umoja coalition.
Boy band group Sauto Sol has been trending for the better part of the day after threatening to sue Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition for copyright infringement.
In a statement shared on Twitter, the Extravaganza hitmakers said they had not authorized the Raila-led coalition to use their song and hence threatened to take legal action.
“This action is a flagrant disregard of our basic and fundamental rights to property and freedom of association. Through their action, they have taken away the right to own and control what is originally and solely our property and have directly associated us with their campaign without our consent. This is contrary to Article 4 of the Constitution of Kenya.” they wrote.
This quickly escalated to a war of words between Azimio supporters and Sauti sol fans, with the latter being heavily trolled.
Some netizens were quick to point out that the Odinga-led team had already made payments to the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MSCK) for local and international music played at the Azimio campaigns.
Notably, early this month, Winnie Odinga, Odinga’s daughter and Azimio representative, paid Sh526,000 to MSCK as confirmed by Senior Licensing Officer David Kiragu.
Sanity was quite restored when the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) clarified that although Azimio la Umoja had paid fees allowing them to play Kenyan music, they should’ve also sought to consent from the original creators of the song. Thus, it labeled the move a copyright infringement.
Bringing in more confusion is MCSK Boss Ezekiel Mutua who placed blame on a third party, excusing Azimio La Umoja while calling for an amicable resolution of the same.
Mutua in a statement on Twitter said if there is any issue regarding the same, it should be blamed on Raila’s Azimio as they did due diligence and paid for licensing.
“The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has been licensing synchronization for decades. This license is issued jointly by all the CMOs to ensure that all rights are covered. If there’s any issue of the interpretation of the law, the problem is not with the user but KECOBO,” Mutua wrote.
The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has been licensing synchronisation for decades. This license is issued jointly by all the CMOs to ensure that all rights are covered. If there's any issue of interpretation of the law, the problem is not with the user but KECOBO. pic.twitter.com/vYvjD2IRik
— Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, MBS (@EzekielMutua) May 17, 2022
This has created more confusion with each board trying to switch blame from their side. Here are some reactions from Twitter:
Who is misleading the Sauti Sol group? Why jump the gun, yet the MCSK is there to act on their behalf…
— Kawangware Finest ™ (Geoffrey Moturi) (@cbs_ke) May 17, 2022
Ezekiel Mutua also just confirmed Raila Odinga presidential campaign paid and were licensed on behalf of Sauti Solhttps://t.co/xGO8ZsyQhF
— abala kinyua (@AbalaKinyuaa) May 17, 2022
So sad that being an artist in Kenya is slavery. Sauti Sol should keep the fight and let all Kenyans know a song is just a product like a car, you can't walk into the car dealership and drive the car out without paying for it. It takes a lot of sleepless nights to make a song.
— Just And Poetic (@JustNPoetic2) May 17, 2022