Multichoice Kenya draws first blood in copyright strike

Multichoice Kenya draws first blood in copyright strike

The High Court has issued orders directing Safaricom and Jamii Telkom to pull down and disable 141 sites suspected of infringing on Multichoice Kenya copyright.

The order is a win for Multichoice whose previously served takedown notice was not acted upon by the internet service providers (ISPs).

“A temporary order is hereby issued as per section 35D (2) of the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2019 to the respondents to prevent or impede the use of its service to access a service, website place, domains or facilities and as may be replaced or moved from time to time situate in or outside Kenya that is used to infringe the Applicant’s copyright,” read part of the orders.

The 141 websites have been accused of carrying Multichoice content that airs on its SuperSport channels without permission and contrary to the Copyright Act.

In their defense, Safaricom and Jamii Telkom argue the responsibility of pulling down the websites contents lies with the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) which is listed as an interested party in the suit.

In its ruling however, which is a first for Kenya, the court has referenced amendments to made to the Copyright Act in 2019 section 35B which allows a persons to issue a copyright strike against ISPs allowing access to the infringed content.

The suit which also names the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) as an interested party is set for hearing on March 3, 2021.