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Wednesday, Nov 13th

Five million pirated CDs burnt in Kenya


Just over five million pirated copies of music and film CDs have been burnt in Kenya, in a move aimed at arresting a growing black market that is denying local artists their revenues.

Last week, the The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) destroyed over a tonne of pirated material, following a nationwide crackdown that has been taking place since last year.

KECOBO was formed in 2001 to tame cases of pirating copyrighted materials in the country.

“This exercise is to send a serious and clear message to those involved in piracy that we will catch up with all of you because this cannot go on forever. We have to protect original content by all means possible,” Bunyasi Kahuria, senior legal council at KECOBO, said during the exercise.

However, it has been a tall order for the body to net all those involved in the trade, especially in rural areas owing to limited staff. The body works in collaboration with the police and the artists’ umbrella body the Recording Industry Association of Kenya (RIAK).

Piracy has been a nightmare for artists and producers of content in Kenya, with the country estimated to be losing over $47million every year to the trade according to the copyright’s watchdog.

Musicians are the worst hit with statistics further showing that for every ten songs played, nine are pirated or broadcast without the singer earning any money. Worse off is that while an artist’s original music album sells for between $3.50-$5.80 depending on the artist, a pirated one goes for a paltry $0.23.

Distributors of the pirated CDs, who play cat and mouse with KECOBO officials, earn as much as $120 in a day thanks to a population with an appetite for local content.

Perpetrators of this crime further risk a fine of $9500 and even a ten-year jail sentence.


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