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Pay artistes’ royalties or lose licences, Sakaja warns media houses, night clubs

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja has asked broadcasters to pay for royalties they owe musicians or risk de-registration.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare on Thursday said media houses that do not pay for royalties for the content they play risk losing their licences.

The legislator said that all media institutions, no matter how small or big, should be deregistered if they don’t remit the monies to artistes.

Sakaja said the broadcasters are unfair as they charge advertisers but fail to play their content when they don’t pay for one day.

“In fact, we want to see them clear the backlog of the payments or their licences be suspended until they clear the same.”

He further stated that media houses rake in billions while they air content that they don’t pay for.

Sakaja said they will hold talks with the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) to discuss the issue further.

This is not the first time complaints on royalties has been raised in Kenya.

Back in 2015, singer Avril blamed media houses for their woes saying they get little for their content.

She said that they should go on record and explain whether they pay royalties or sort out licenses for all Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) they are required to pay for.

Read: Kamp, Prisk and Mpake to be helped by KRA to collect royalties

Sakaja also noted that clubs were liable for the music they play adding that club owners will be arrested if they played music beyond the allowable sound limits. 

He urged club owners to hold a meeting with their respective county governments, NEMA, and Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) to decide on the right standards and requirements to run a night club.

“Failure to do this, club owners will be arrested,” he said.

“If somebody is getting a license for a club and cannot afford sound proof materials then don’t give him a license, because such persons should not be having a club.”

There have been complaints by residents of estates neighbouring night clubs of noise from the joints.

NEMA has a requirement that all night clubs should be sound-proof.

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