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The Kenya Copyright Board (KeCOBO), champion of the Partners Against Piracy (PAP) initiative, has come out in support of the SROC letter
NAIROBI, Kenya, February 15, 2022/ — A coalition of global sports bodies have written an open letter to the Kenyan government, expressing concern over the copyright bill currently before Parliament and its potential impact on the availability international sports content in Kenya.

The Sports Rights Owner Coalition (SROC) is an alliance of over 50 international and national sporting bodies, representing some of the world’s major sporting codes and competitions, including the English Premier League, FA Cup, Wimbledon, MotoGP and Rugby World . Chopped off.

In the recent letter, signed by Chairman Mark Lichtenstein, the SROC says its members are “extremely concerned” about the changes that will be made to Kenya’s copyright law if the Copyright Amendment Bill author becomes law.

The SROC is particularly concerned about proposals to repeal Sections 35B, 35C and 35D of the Copyright Act, which permit takedown notices to Internet service provider platforms that allow content piracy to thrive. .

A takedown notice is a remedy widely used by copyright holders around the world, requiring online platforms to promptly remove content from their websites if the content is suspected of infringing copyright. .

The Kenya Copyright Board (KeCOBO), champion of the Partners Against Piracy (PAP) initiative, came out in support of the SROC letter.

“Takedown notices are an essential tool for copyright owners and related rights holders to combat piracy of digital content by controlling the distribution and economic viability of their work and how it is accessed online. online,” said Edward Sigei, executive director of KeCOBO.

“All over the world, they help protect the intellectual property rights of sports rights holders. If rights holders cannot demand that pirated sports content be taken down immediately, it will threaten the future of live sports broadcasting in Kenya. Why would international sports media allow sports broadcasts in Kenya, if they have no way of preventing them from being pirated? »

Kenya’s Copyright Amendment Bill 2019 incorporates the principles of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet Treaties of 1996, aimed at preventing unauthorized access and use of creative works. Takedown notices are part of these principles and are necessary tools to enforce copyright protection for rights holders and distributors.

If the Amendment Bill is signed into law, Kenya will not keep up with global trends, the average Kenyan will lose great sports entertainment. Another negative consequence of the passage of this Amendment Bill would be the reputational and economic investment quagmire it would create and jeopardize Kenya’s ability to renew its participation in the Growth and Opportunities in Africa (AGOA), as one of the additional provisions of the renewal requires a commitment to copyright protection as a condition of signing. Repealing section 35 of the Copyright Act would do the exact opposite and threaten investor confidence.

The SROC points out that in Europe, policymakers are strengthening, not weakening, the effectiveness of takedown notices, especially when it comes to live content. New proposals to more effectively protect live content in Europe are expected in the first half of 2022.

“If the Copyright Amendment Bill were to be enacted, it could have devastating consequences for both the Kenyan economy and Kenyan consumers,” the SROC letter said. “Sports rights holders and other creative industries are extremely unlikely to license their content in a jurisdiction that effectively legitimizes piracy. Consumers would therefore be deprived of watching their favorite sports and TV shows, leaving Kenya isolated on the global copyright stage.

The coalition – which includes the English FA, UEFA, IAAF and the International Tennis Federation – then calls for the proposed new law to be urgently reviewed “so as not to harm Kenyan consumers and threaten the availability of sports and entertainment content in Kenya.”

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