Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta signs the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021 into law.

Kenyan artists can now breathe a sigh of relief after President Kenyatta Uhuru signed into law the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021, which will see them get 52 percent of revenue from Skiza ringback tunes.

Music Copyright Society of Kenya CEO, Dr Ezekiel Mutua, lauded the Head of State for appending his signature to the law that will see artists’ income increase drastically.

Dr Mutua added that the music industry will finally “be able to generate billionaires” after years of artists receiving peanuts.

The law, which is also part of the government’s effort to safeguard the interests of musicians, will see artists enjoy better royalties as it introduces a new formula for the sharing of income collected from ringback tunes.

“Thank you President Uhuru Kenyatta for the gift to Kenyan musicians. With the signing of the Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021 into law, a new revenue sharing formula tilted in favor of copyright owners comes into place,” Dr Mutua tweeted.

“I said there will be billionaires in this industry!” remarked the new MCSK boss.

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According to the law, artists will get 52 percent of the revenue collected on ringback tunes, while the remaining 43 percent will be shared between telecommunication operators and premium rate service providers.

“Section 30(c) of the new Copyright law provides as follows: premium rate service provider shall be entitled to 8.5 percent, telecommunication operator 39.5 percent, and the artist or owner of the copyright shall be entitled to not less than 52 percent of the revenue,” read part of the statement.

In 2021, the Chairperson of the National Assembly Finance Committee, Ms Gladys Wanga, sought to have the copyright law amended to ensure that artists do not continue suffering despite putting in the work.

Mrs Wanga argued that artists merely benefitted when their music was downloaded, noting that mobile operators took the main stake.

In March 2021, the government unveiled a new system through which musicians and artists would register and track their royalties. The system would be used for registration of copyright, licensing of music use, royalty management and media monitoring.

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