Why Kenya’s Creative Sector Loses KSh252Mn Daily to Piracy

Kenya’s creative industry is losing KSh92 billion annually due to online piracy as the implementation of the Copyright Act is delayed

Kenya’s creative industry is losing KSh92 billion annually due to online piracy as the implementation of crucial parts of the Copyright Act is delayed, an industry lobby group says. 

Partners Against Piracy (PAP) says Sh15 billion is lost through pirated music, Sh32 billion is lost to pirated video content and Sh5 billion is lost from cinema.

The industry loses another Sh8 billion from television, Sh29 billion from pirated books, magazines and newspapers and Sh3 billion is lost in gaming.

Mike Strano, PAP Interim Convener and  MyMovies.Africa Co-Founder said in addition, piracy costs the government over Sh12.69 billion in value-added tax, Sh2.49 billion in corporation tax, Sh1.07 billion in income tax for residents and Sh1.13 billion in income tax for non-residents yearly.

“Pirates do not register their businesses and do not pay tax. They also do not create employment. Reducing piracy in Kenya can create at least 50,000 jobs,”  Strano said during the 2022 World IP Day celebration themed Intellectual Property and the Youth.

The lobby is now calling on the government to move fast and implement sections 35 B, C & D of the Copyright Act, in cooperation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), within the next 100 days, to help the creative industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and create over 50,000 new jobs for the youth. 

Copyright Bill Change Strikes a Blow Against Piracy

Online piracy, he added, is a cybercrime perpetrated by terrorists and global syndicates, and must be dealt with through stakeholder participation, especially ISPs.

MultiChoice Kenya’s Managing Director Nancy Matimu, noted that some of the local businesses engaging in piracy don’t know if it is illegal. 

“I get to interact with many business leaders, lawmakers and consumers alike who always touch on our price point, but they do not seem to understand that piracy takes away from the revenue streams of creatives,” she said. 

“There are small businesses distributing content on various IPs, but they do not know that they are actually participating in a crime. Piracy sensitisation is the only way we will safeguard the futures of our youth.”

Regarding legislation and policy challenges facing the industry, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) Executive Director  Edward Sigei, said, “Creatives, as the Owners of Copyright and Related Rights, are a critical tool in the fight against Piracy.” 

“They have influence and reach to advocate for policies, that directly affect their revenue streams. This is the only way that we can empower and advocate for our creative industry.”

Kenya Film Commission’s CEO Timothy Owase said for the film industry to create wealth, these laws need to be implemented. 

“We also need to appreciate the creators of this content as contributors to formal business in the country. That is why we as KFC are working with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to collect data on what the film industry contributes to the economy annually,” he added.

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