The Operation and Regulation of Collective Management Organizations of Music Works in the Digital Era: A Review of Kenya’s Legislative Framework

Master Thesis


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The era of digitization has brought about new categories of copyright works and new modes of dissemination of these works. This has affected music works copyright, collective management of these rights and the law of copyright as a whole. Scholars hold different opinions on the effect of technological advancement on collective management. One tier believes that it expands the role of CMOs by providing the most appropriate and convenient way to exercise these new bundles of rights. The other tier believes that CMOs might become irrelevant since new technologies enable copyright holders to maintain a direct relationship with users. Consequently, this dissertation seeks to prove that digitization is complementary to the role of CMOs. It is complementary if and when the legislative structure is reformed to contain technology specific provisions. In turn this would justify the continued existence of CMOs. The research will focus on collective management of music works in Kenya. A majority of Kenyans have access to internet making it easier to use and disseminate musical works in the digital environment. This research questions whether this type of usage is subject to collective management and whether the current copyright laws facilitate collective management in the digital environment. The main hypothesis developed is: effective regulation of copyright offers a better attempt at ensuring efficiency of CMOs in the digital era. Kenya’s copyright laws have been amended severally to reflect changes in copyright law. Constant litigation in the area of copyright seeking to interpret the application of current statutory provisions in the digital era, offers a clear indication that the amendments and application of the current copyright laws is not effective given the technological evolution. African countries like South Africa and Nigeria have started their legislative journey in amending their copyright laws. Kenya needs to appreciate the need to amend the current copyright laws and start its own journey of regulating copyright in the digital era.