The Music Copyright society of Kenya is an organization set out to protect authors, arrangers, music publishers and composers. They collect and dispense royalties that are owed to artist when their intellectual property is used for mechanical and public performances. The MCSK has been running efficiently for a number of years. In the past few years though, the organization has been facing a few setbacks due to controversial actions performed.
The company began its work after registration in 1843. Most Kenyans are unaware of the institutions existence until recently. The organization, had a good reputation until the past few years where it seems musicians do not like how the organization was misappropriating funds. Musicians who took a stand against the institution filing some lawsuits against the institution and its affiliates. The copyright Board of Kenya was not spared either, they were served up lawsuits as well.
These musicians namely Francis Jumba, Ndiba, Eric Wanainaina, Mira and Caroline Wanjiku were standing against what they called “using royalties for their own work”. This was not the first dalliance with the artists in Kenya. Of late issues have made a room in the organization threatening to take it down the war path. In 2011, the copyright society of Kenya took the action to deregister the society sighting bad management.
Now the MCSK has been a pot of boiling soup. They recently have been questions by the groups to explain why the financial state of the company is so dire. It is hard to explain how revenue collected and distributed keeps dwindling.
The institution for their license revoked again by the Kenya Copyright Board for not being able to provide their financial documents for audit. They are also to provide documentation showing funds transferred to musicians ending June 2016.
Elani has been criticising the organisation over royalties owed to them. They are not the only musicians wanting answers. The 15,000 musicians who have registered with the institution have their royalty related funds suspended till the issue is resolved.
Mr. Edward Sigei stated “As I said before, a decision once made can be reviewed. The decision was made to withhold the license after we discovered that they had not remitted all the required documents. Should we receive them in good time then we will review it,”. On the other hand, the Copyrights board has given other societies ready to collect royalties for artists with transparency a chance to register. This is good news for those artists who in protest left MCSK.
Why musicians should care
In the wake of all their woes the MCSK has served musicians faithfully in the past and they should not forget it. Due to the situation of things, many musicians have funds owed to them by MCSK. They should push for the institution to select a new management team probably one approved by the Copyrights board.
If the MCSK, finally submits the required documents and gets their license renewed. Strong measures should be employed to keep the society efficiently running for the sake of the artists.