The Reproduction Rights Society of Kenya
"Protecting Copyright, Promoting Creativity"
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Copyright News FAQs



  1. Who is Kopiken?

  2. Kopiken is Kenya's Reproduction Rights Organization (RRO). A reproduction rights organization is a collecting society which licenses the reproduction of copyright-protected materials against payment of fees whenever it is impractical for rights holders (authors and publishers of publications) to license and collect fees individually.

  3. What is copyright?

  4. Copyright, which simply means the right to copy, is a collective term for a bundle of economic and moral rights granted by law to creators of original 'works of the mind' in literature, drama, art and music.

  5. What is protected by copyright?

  6. Literary, musical, artistic and audio-visual works, and sound recordings and broadcasts are eligible for copyright protection.

  7. What are the rights of the copyright holder?

  8. Copyright is the means by which creators benefit from their intellectual property - the work they have created - and is essential to human creativity. Through copyright, creators receive financial reward for their efforts and recognition of the importance of their intellectual property to the development of society. Without protection and financial reward, there would be little incentive for creators to produce new works.

  9. Who is eligible to join Kopiken?

  10. Kopiken membership is by association rather than by individuals. Therefore to become a member of Kopiken, one must be a member of an association that affiliates itself with Kopiken.

  11. Which works belong to the public domain?

  12. Works whose terms of protection have expired, those whose authors have renounced their rights and foreign works which do not enjoy protection in Kenya are considered to be in the public domain.

  13. What is fair use?

  14. Fair use includes dealing for the purposes of scientific research, private use, criticism or review, or the reporting of current events subject to acknowledgment of the source.

  15. What is compliance?

  16. By compliance, we mean complying with copyright law and best practice in the workplace.

    Any organisation, whether private, public sector or charity that uses, shares, communicates or reproduces copyright protected material needs to be aware of how copyright affects them and should introduce policies and practices to help minimise non-compliance.

  17. How does copyright affect me?

  18. Most published content used by an organisation will be protected by copyright. This includes books, magazines, newspapers, journals, newsletters, reports and digital or online versions of the same, including material on websites and their contents. It also applies to press cuttings supplied internally or by an external agency or documents purchased from a third party supplier.

    Copyright law, governed by the Copyright Act 2001, gives the owner of the copyright certain exclusive rights. The copyright owner is usually the creator (writer, photographer or illustrator) or the publisher of the work.

    This means that (aside from some narrow legal exceptions) any organisation that wishes to reproduce an extract from a copyright protected work will require the permission of the copyright owner or run the risk and potential cost of copyright infringement/non-compliance with copyright law.

  19. What is copyright infringement?

  20. An infringement of copyright could occur when a third party, without the permission of the copyright owner or statutory authority, performs any of the restricted acts, outside of the narrow statutory exceptions, in relation to a copyright protected work.

    Some of the restricted acts, relevant to material covered under a Kopiken licence, are:
    a) Copying the work (e.g. photocopying, scanning, accessing or digitally reusing);
    b) Issuing (distributing) copies;
    c) Adapting the work; and
    d) Authorising another person to do any of the above acts.

  21. How can I comply?
  22. An organization can ensure compliance by taking some simple steps:
    Obtain blanket permission for copying by buying the appropriateKopiken License – this is normally adequate for most uses on a day to day basis and for copying extracts. In the absence of a Kopiken licence, or statutory authority, you must apply directly to the publisher or copyright owner to obtain clearance each time you want to copy a proportion of a work, and pay any relevant fees.

    Check and comply with specific terms of use relating to direct subscriptions or purchased documents supplied directly, including online formats. For published website content, look out for the copyright icon “what can I do with this content?” which sets out the copyright terms of the website in a couple of clicks. Alternatively, check the copyright notice on the site before re-using content.

    Summarise good practice in an internal policy and ensure all employees are aware of how they should use copyright protected materials. This will help you reduce the risk of infringement.

  23. What is the cost of infringement?

  24. If your organisation infringes copyright it runs the risk of investigation by Anti Counterfetit Agency, Kenya Copyright Board, the compliance arm of Kopiken, as well as legal action by the copyright owner(s).

    Financial costs – Infringement is usually a civil offence and any damages would be awarded at the discretion of the court on a case-by-case basis. Additional damages could also be awarded regarding the flagrancy of such infringement as the justice of the case may require.

    Damage to reputation – Any legal action is bad publicity for your organization and can affect its image, incoming investment and, even worse, future revenues. Individual officers of a company can be held responsible and employees could be personally liable for infringement in some circumstances.

    Evidence of infringement presented to an organization by Kopiken usually results in an out of court settlement or the purchase of a licence – so it is worth obtaining a licence in advance.

    Income received by writers, publishers and visual artists in return for the copying of their work is an important income for creators and non-compliance denies them this remuneration. Kopiken licences ensure that writers, visual artists and publishers receive a fair reward when their work is used so they can continue to invest their time and money in creating new content.

  25. How would you know if I copy without permission?

  26. Although we expect that you will want to comply with copyright law and apply for a Kopiken licence, Kopiken have a compliance enforcement team who work to prevent illegal copying.

    We use a variety of methods for monitoring organisations where we suspect illegal copying to be taking place but in order for us to operate successfully the full details of our compliance activities are confidential.

  27. What if all I copy is from foreign authors/publishers?

  28. As a member of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations, Kopiken has entered into bilateral agreements that have authorized her to collect fees internationally, hence covers foreign publications as well.

  29. Who needs a license?

  30. If your institution carries out large scale photocopying of publications or you are an owner of a photocopying bureau, you need to take up a license from Kopiken as what you are doing is illegal.