04-02-2021 by redazione
Kenya is preparing to crack down on internet piracy, illegal streaming and the reproduction and trade of internationally copyrighted films, series and videos.
The government in Nairobi is called upon to take action against the almost non-existent control of the video piracy phenomenon, thus responding to a specific request from the American film industry and the international entertainment streaming industry, which are asking the African nation, on the basis of bilateral agreements that also allowed it to join the G20 recently, to align itself with the standards of the developed countries of the planet in terms of intellectual property rights. The US entertainment giants have asked the Kenyan authorities to implement stricter copyright laws as part of the ongoing negotiations that will lead to new free trade agreements between the two countries.
The request was made by more than 3000 companies, led by the Netflix groups, Walt Disney Studios, Universal City Studios Hollywood, Warner Bros, Bloomsbury and many others, who are part of five associations that form the powerful IIPA (International Intellectual Property Alliance). The video entertainment sector turns over about $130 trillion a year.
The rules referred to could forever change the approach of these companies to the economic fabric and technology market of Kenya, considered the largest growing economy in East Africa.
"Kenya's legal and copyright enforcement structures remain deficient, and piracy, particularly online, remains a significant barrier to the creative industries in Kenya," reads an excerpt from the letter sent by the IIPA to the US Congress.
The lobby wants the review of copyright laws to be a condition for Kenya in the ongoing trade negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) that should be a model for similar US bilateral agreements with other African countries.
"These negotiations should be a catalyst for the Government of Kenya to take the necessary steps to modernise Kenya's copyright legal and enforcement regimes and improve its market for legitimate digital trade in copyrighted materials," says IIPA.
The request includes obligations to regulate international copyright law including criminal sanctions, and enforcement measures to address online infringement including principles of secondary liability to provide legal incentives for cooperation between service providers and rights holders and liability for aiding and abetting infringing activities.
In a nutshell, the many shops in Kenya that currently sell non-original DVDs, duplicate or download films and series from the internet, and offer pirated new films, will have to close their doors or conform to the market. But clandestine trading and selling will also have to be prosecuted. The request could also extend to Kenyan sites offering illegal streaming or downloading videos without a licence.
In short, a half revolution for Kenya in the digital field, which had already begun a few months ago with the request of the South African sports giant Supersport, which broadcasts football and other sports from all over the world via the DSTV satellite platform. The request to the Kenyan government was to shut down all sites offering streaming of football matches broadcast by Supersport and to punish all bars and clubs in the country that play them without paying a subscription fee.
According to Kenya Copywright Board Director Edward Sigei, Kenya has ensured through a telematics system that this type of piracy can no longer operate in Kenya and that the Supersport case may set a precedent for future Copywright disputes in Kenya, including those of international content owners.
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