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Piracy websites targeted in new law

Tuesday September 8 2015

The Netflix website. FILE PHOTO

The Netflix website. Websites that violate copyright requirements against local content producers will be blocked in a proposed law. FILE PHOTO 

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Websites that violate copyright requirements against local content producers will be blocked in a proposed law.

The move is largely meant to protect Kenya's new movie and television industry.

According to Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) Chief Legal Counsel Edward Sigei, the regulations come into play by the end of the year.

They are an amendment to the Copyright Act but will be incorporated under the Kenya Information and Communications Act.

“In the regulations, Internet service providers will be obligated to block a website so that the content is not visible,” said Mr Sigei.

Mr Sigei said some of the websites stream exclusively local content such as music, games and movies.


Perpetrators will further face stringent penalties meant to stop them from airing local content without paying for them. The laws will be ready for public discussions next month before they go to Parliament.

Since the legal framework deals only with local websites, the regulations will affect only websites hosted within Kenya.

KECOBO is working with the Telecommunication Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) to incorporate local Internet providers into the arrangement.


The new measures complement the government’s move to increase the coverage for local content by broadcasters to 60 per cent by 2018. Already, five media houses had exceeded the 40 per cent local content target by June this year.

As part of the efforts to revamp the local movie industry, the Communications Authority (CA) is conducting a study to establish the factors inhibiting the production and uptake of local content.

“We have noted already that there are genres of local content that have been underrepresented in broadcasting - children's programmes, documentaries, reality shows, programmes for persons with disabilities - (and) we want the study to tell us the reasons why and how they can be well circulated,” said CA Director-General Francis Wangusi.

The CA also wants every new licensee putting up a broadcasting station to provide sign language interpretation and captioning particularly during news, coverage of emergencies and events of national importance.

The licensees must meet the requirement within 60 days of being awarded the license.