April 14, 2024

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MCSK Rubbishes Corruption Allegations by KECOBO

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The Music Copyright Society of Kenya undertaking royalties distribution to its 16000 members in line with the law and MCSK distribution rules has responded to Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) allegations of misappropriation of funds.

The distribution which commenced on 25th January 2024 at an event held in a Nairobi hotel and attended by artists from across the regions runs until 29th of March 2024.

The period and criteria for distribution was well stipulated in the public notice that was published in the national dailies on Friday 19th January 2024.

Alfred Mutua told Journalists on Thursday that posted the public notice on their social media platforms before the distribution commenced and have been updating members on the process.

The three months distribution period is meant to give the members sufficient time to update their music catalogues and other personal data such as bank accounts, mpesa numbers and KRA Pin.

“Since the distribution started, we have received positive responses from our members who have been engaging us online and others on social media. Many artists have visited our offices to update their catalogues and are getting their dues in line with MCSK distribution rules. It’s imperative to note that the MCSK Royalties Distribution Notice published in the dailies on January 19th (way before the distribution began) was done after consultations with Cabinet Secretary in charge of Gender, The Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon. Aisha Jumwa, the Kenya Copyright Board and relevant stakeholders. The notice stated clearly that the monies available for distribution for Quarter One of 2024 was Twenty Million Kenya Shillings (Ksh20,000,000),” said Mutua.

Mutua says there was no question on the declared amount and members were allowed to ask questions unlike other years where they were never accorded the opportunity.

“We are therefore disturbed to see documents circulating on social media questioning the amounts distributed and raising malicious and unfortunate allegations of misappropriation. How can anyone reach the conclusion of misappropriation on an ongoing process.  Out of the three CMOs licensed by the Kenya Copyright Board for collection and distribution of royalties only MCSK is distributing. Yet we use the same system imposed on us by the regulator and share the revenue proportionate to our membership. How come no one has an issue with the ones who have not distributed? Is it a crime for MCSK to have taken the decision to distribute?” Agitated Mutua asked.

MCSK wonders where the regulator got the amounts they claim to base on the 70% rule which is not in the Copyright Act, regulation or Constitution.

Artists have been getting peanuts as royalties in the past, many used to post the ridiculous figures on social media but this time round both general and scientific methods applied and increased the royalties to musicians.

MCSK has vowed to take the matter to court as KECOBO wants to incite its members over Shortchanging allegations.

MCSK said it shall not succumb to pressure from corrupt cartels who want to divert attention as they continue to exploit gullible artists.

MCSK is on a rebound after years of being in the doldrums and the cartels are worried that the newly found vibrancy and optimism among artists is going to enlighten them about their rights to the detriment of those who have impoverished artists for years.

There’s a lot of money from other revenue streams like Skiza Tunes, streaming services and concerts that would benefit artists if the Government provided proper policies for monitisation of content.

The work of Government is to provide a conducive environment for private companies like MCSK to thrive. The Government should not meddle with the internal affairs of a private entity.

MCSK however appeals for police enforcement through the regulator to deal with defaulters and collect over Ksh2B owed by different users of copyrighted musical works.

“MCSK is not a public entity. It does not draw money from the exchequer. The Government does not fund production of the music by our members nor does it buy the music. Copyright is a private right. Our Directors and staff do not draw salaries from the Exchequer nor do we use public resources to conduct our business. We are a private company registered under the Companies Act as a Company Limited by guarantee. How does the Government come into our operations? Government licenses many private companies including broadcasters and other private entities like banks. Does that give it the power to meddle with the internal operations of these companies? What’s the obsession with the music industry?” Wondered Ezekiel.

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