Artists to pocket 52% from skiza revenues after Uhuru signed Copyright Bill into law

What Copyright bill 2021 means for Kenyan artists

The Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was signed into law Monday, April 4 by President Uhuru Kenyatta dealing a big win to Kenyan artists.

Amendments in the Bill are about the percentage of money artists generate from Telecommunication services as ring back tunes, better known as skiza tune, and introduces a new formula in the sharing of revenues collected.

Kenyan artists will pocket the majority of shares from the monies earned from the tunes, dealing a major blow to Kenya’s major telcos like Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom.

Skiza tunes have allowed artists to market and advertise their products and have also enabled them to generate an income.

Musicians are today earning 16 percent of the net revenue while 25 percent goes to taxes as Safaricom pockets the remaining 51 percent.

President Kenyatta impended signature on the Bill where artists will get 52 percent of net revenue from the skiza tunes, while premium rate service provider shall be entitled to 8.5 percent and telcos will bag 39.5 percent.

The Bill was sponsored by Homabay Women Representative Gladys Wanga to challenge the existing skiza revenue share in favour of artists.

“The paradox is whether our artistes get to earn what they deserve and this is what the Copyright Amendment Bill seeks to deal with. We need to put our artists where they belong. This is going to be revolutionary for the creative industry and our artists. Amendments like these will change the lives of our artists.

“The object of the Bill is to provide for a fair formula for sharing of revenue from ring back tunes between the artistes or copyright holders and the telecoms companies,” said Wanga in the memorandum.

Skiza tunes is a service for Safaricom subscribers which allows them to use artists’ songs where the callers play and hear the songs before they are connected to the call receiver.

Artists in the country have been championing fairness in how their materials are being used in the media industry.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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