In his public address on Tuesday morning, the President tasked rights holders to register with the National Rights Registry.
“Regarding Content Service Providers, my intent is to support the sector using a multi-pronged approach. Content Service Providers who work with digital platforms such as SKIZA and Viusasa, will be eliminated. And this is because they sit outside the Collection Management Organisations. My practical direction on this is to have all rights holders register on the National Rights Registry,” said the President.
Some of the content creators who have since welcomed the directive include comedian Jaymo Ule Msee and singer Ringtone.
Jaymo said: “As a content creator, I think there have been so many middlemen on the ground. When we get government support on how we are supposed to go about it, it becomes good because there will be a policy. I hope Kecobo will give us the strategy. Once we understand that, we are good to go.”
Adding: “The good thing is there is political support, especially when it is coming from the President as a directive. It’s a good step and the President has noted that content creators are being short-changed and are not getting value for their money. We also want to know our contact person in the government just in case things don’t go as planned.”
On his part, Ringtone told Word Is: “Those companies act as middlemen between artistes and service providers and take a big percentage of our money. As an artiste, I’m happy that the President has solved 80 per cent of our problems.
“The only challenge we have now is the Kenya Copyright Board. He has to streamline the board because some of the employees there have been working with cartels.”
The management of Content Aggregation Limited (CAL), the company that owns Viusasa and provides content for Skiza and Royal Media Services has allayed fears the President’s directive will spell doom for the video-on-demand platform.
Managing Director George Waititu said Uhuru’s directive couldn’t have come at a better time.
“The president did not say Viusasa or Skiza is going to be closed. Far far from it, what he said is that he is going to change the structure that governs Viusasa… In other words today if you are a musician and you have a song and you would like to put it on Skiza, you will have to go through a licensed intermediary,” said Waititu.
“The Head of State wants to restructure so that a musician can choose if he wants to bring his content direct or via an intermediary.”