Piracy Depriving The Country Ksh252 Million in Revenue and Taxes

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Partners Against Piracy (PAP) have called for the Implementation of Sections 35 B, C & D of the Copyright Act, in Co-operation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), within the next 100 Days, to help the Creative Industry of Kenya recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic and create over 50,000 new Jobs for the Youth.

During this year’s World IP Day celebration, themed Intellectual Property and the Youth, PAP interim Convener & MyMovies.Africa™ Co-Founder – Mike Strano, said “The estimated gross losses to Online Piracy in Kenya costs the industry over KES 92 billion per year.  That is, KES 15 billion lost through pirated Music (i.e. affecting Artists on Safaricom Baze Music, Boomplay, Mdundo, Spotify, etc), KES 32 billion lost to pirated Video Content (i.e. affecting Creators on Safaricom Baze, MyMovies.Africa™, Netflix, Showmax, YouTube, etc), KES 5 billion lost from Cinema, KES 8 billion lost from Television (i.e. affecting Creators on MultiChoice, Star Times and local Channels), KES 29 billion lost from pirated Books, Magazines & Newspapers and KES 3 billion lost in Gaming.”

Additionally, Strano says that yearly, Piracy costs the Government over KES 12.69 billion in Value Added Tax, KES 2.49 billion in Corporation Tax, KES 1.07 billion in Income Tax for Residents and KES 1.13 billion in Income Tax for Non-Residents.

“Pirates do not register their businesses and do not pay tax.  They also do not create employment.  Reducing piracy in Kenya can create at least 50,000 jobs.  Online Piracy is a Cybercrime perpetuated by Terrorists and Global Syndicates, and must be dealt with through Stakeholder participation, especially Internet Service Providers”, says Strano.

MultiChoice Kenya’s Managing Director – Nancy Matimu, highlighted the importance of Piracy knowledge for all.  “I get to interact with many business leaders, law makers and consumers alike who always touch on our price point, but they do not seem to understand that Piracy takes away from the revenue streams of Creatives.  There are small business distributing content on various IPs, but they do not know that they are actually participating in a crime.  Piracy sensitisation is the only way we will safeguard the futures of our youth”.

Regarding Legislation and Policy challenges facing the Industry, Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) Executive Director – Edward Sigei, said, “Creatives, as the Owners of Copyright & Related Rights, are a critical tool in the fight against Piracy.  They have influence and reach to advocate for Policies, that directly affect their Revenue streams.  This is the only way that we can empower and advocate for our Creative Industry.”

Also in attendance, Kenya Film Commission’s Chief Executive Officer – Timothy Owase, added, “For our Film Industry to create wealth, these Laws need to be implemented.  We also need to appreciate the Creators of this Content as contributors to formal business in the country.  That is why we as KFC are working with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to collect data on what the Film Industry contributes to the Economy annually.”

This year’s theme for the World Intellectual Property Day was IP and Youth – Innovation for a Better Future, so during the celebration PAP also hosted a Panel Discussion with young creative minds on the Challenges they are facing in the Industry with regards to Piracy.

“Lack of structures in the Music Industry on how we make money from our Art is discouraging”, said King Kaka -Rapper and Chief Executive Officer of Kaka Empire.  “If these structures were put in place, the Government would view the Creative Industry as a multi-billion shilling Sector that is taxable.  The relevant bodies mandated to oversee these issues should step-up.”

Stakeholders who participated in the celebrations were urged to change their attitude and perception towards the Creative Industry, as it could hugely contribute to the growth of the GDP of the country.

“There needs to be a paradigm shift around how Creatives are viewed and respected in Kenya.  “Creative Industry is the next Industrial Revolution in Africa”, said Strano.  “Government and Corporates in Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Tanzania place a higher Value on their Creatives.  Are we going to allow Kenya to be left behind?”