The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has been relieved of their duties under license to collect royalties on behalf of Kenyan musicians after they failed to produce its latest audited financial statements.
The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) took the decision upon receiving various complaints from the artists. Major accusation against MCSK appeared to be the failure in implementing a joint licensing, collection and distribution of royalties.
"In the letter dated 14th June 2016 and addressed to KECOBO, Kenya Association of Music Producers and Performers' Rights Society of Kenya, have detailed how for close to 10 years MCSK has systematically failed to work with other CMOs for the ease of royalty collection.” The statement sent by an aggrieved artist also read, "This has led to music users failing to pay for use of music and citing the lack of transparency between CMOs, and further details have emerged of MCSK failing to remit monies….which are royalties for musicians."
MCSK is also under a lot of heat for the accusations that they altered the rules of the society during the Annual General meeting to stop publishers from contesting any position within the society. And the musical society sees such conduct as discrimination, since it deprives many of the right to take part in the activities of the society.
To fill in this position, the Board of Directors of Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has approved the licensing of Music Publishers Association of Kenya Limited (MPAKE) to collect royalties on behalf of authors, composers and publishers from March 2017 to February 2018 effective immediately.
The Board reasoned that the MCKS’s rejection was due to its failure to fulfill conditions and obligations under its last license amongst other reasons. This means that MCSK will have to wait for another year to apply for the license. The organization has been entangled in controversy with artistes accusing it of never remitting monies collected for years.
The Kenya Copyright Board is a State corporation in Kenya performing under the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice which is mandated with the administration and enforcement of copyright and related rights.