Uhuru's Plan To Kill Off Pirated Movies

Uhuru's Plan To Kill Off Pirated Movies
Pirated movies in Kenya. /FILE

The widely popular pirated movie industry in Kenya risks disappearing for good after the United States urged the country to launch a crack down on the industry as part of its ongoing trade deal.

The free trade agreement between President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration and the global superpower includes Kenyan authorities requested by the US to activate tougher copyright laws in changing the technology and entertainment industries in East Africa's prime economic powerhouse.

This is part of the bargaining objectives in the Kenya-US trade talks that call for Kenya's dedication ahead of the bilateral deal signing.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with former US President Donald Trump. /NAIROBI NEWS

Entertainment giants such as Netflix, Walt Disney Studios, Universal City Studios and Warner Brothers have called for Kenya to restore copyright legislation by imposing tougher penalties for individuals and corporates found to be contravening copyright regulations in a letter addressed to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

They made their intentions known through the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) lobby group which is a merger composing of five organisations such as the Association of American Publishers, Entertainment Software Association, Independent Film and Television Alliance, Motion Picture Association and Recording Industry Association of America.

IIPA exposed Kenya's weak copyright legal and enforcement framework, with piracy especially online being the biggest roadblock for creatives in Kenya.

They expect the country to enforce the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Internet Treaties which include creation of effective and legal means of protection such as imposing digital locks used by streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV and Hulu to lock out unauthorised access to their content.

"Secondary liability creates legal incentives for service providers to cooperate with copyright owners to address online infringement", noted IIPA.

This suggestion came in wind of the lawsuit against Safaricom and Jamie Telecom Limited for infringing copyrights under secondary liability principles by the Pay TV service provider.

The pirated movie businesses are a source of income for thousands of Kenyans as movie shops offering pirated content sprout like weeds.

The income generated from the sale of pirated movies is immense, with one such content burned into a compact disc from a computer and sold at Ksh50 averagely.

Rural areas particularly enjoy pirated copies which feature translations or exaggerated and hilarious narrations in vernacular languages.

Kenya Film Classification Board chair Ezekiel Mutua during a past media briefing. /FILE