“Newspapers are protected by copyright, being literary works. The corporates that publish and organize them do so at great expense. Therefore, deserve their reward just like all authors and owners of copyright.” Wrote Mr. Edward Sigei, the Executive Director, Kenya Copyright Board.
As a result of Covid-19 pandemic, most print organizations have established online versions of their products. Magazines and newspapers are now promoting their e- papers in order to be at par with the shifting conditions.
However, this move by various media houses is close to zero work. The illegal sharing of literary works through PDFs is now on the rise. It is therefore the right time to emphasize the copyright law, with an aim of providing a conducive environment for the shift.
According to articles 11 and 40 of the constitution, the Government has the obligation of supporting, promoting and protecting the intellectual property rights of citizens. This gives the government the authority to fish out these illegal content distributors and make sure they face the law.
Intellectual Property Rights
In Kenya, the types of intellectual property recognized under the legal system are: trademarks, patents, copyright and design rights. By definition, these are international systems agreed on by the state, which enable both innovators and creators to release products useful for improved human experience.
Similarly, foreigners also get to enjoy this protection by the government of Kenya. This is because they are our government’s responsibility by virtue of international treaties and conventions which Kenya is part of.
As a result, sectors of the economy fully rely on the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). These sectors are a result of ever- green content, produced by costly research and developments such as publishing. Also, the system determines the economic competitiveness of a country. It does this by affecting the country’s ability to grow local economy or attract foreign investments.
The state therefore warns two groups of people: first, the group that engages in plagiarism unknowingly, and second, the group that infringe the copyright law knowingly.
“These acts of infringement have a deleterious impact on journalists who author the content and look forward to a paycheck and stable employment in a media house.” Noted Mr. Sigei.