Fight against music piracy boosted in East Africa with unified laws

John Katana and Perry Alando
John Katana, member of prolific Kenyan band Them Mushrooms and Perry Alando, founder of the Talent Management Agency

East African Community (EAC) member states are set to harmonize their laws to boost cooperation in the fight against music piracy, an official said on Monday.

Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Ezekiel Mutua told a media briefing in Nairobi that partner states have already developed draft policies and legislation that will be forwarded to the East African Legislative Assembly for enactment.

“The goal is to have uniform laws that will guide cooperation in combating music piracy that is responsible for stifling growth of the sector,” Mutua said.

The EAC comprises Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan.

Mutua said that once the economic bloc has a unified legal regime, it will reduce the level of music piracy in the region and help boost artists’ earnings, noting that growing regional integration has led to an increase in cross-border trade of music.

He said some of the trade involves pirated music moving from one partner state to another by criminal syndicates taking advantage of weak national laws.

Mutua noted that digital technology has contributed to the proliferation of pirated music because it enables unauthorized copies of music.

Low purchasing power in the region has also made piracy rampant, he said.

The Kenyan film content regulator is currently conducting a national awareness campaign to educate artists on how to prevent them from being victims of music piracy, Mutua said.

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