Arap Marindich: KECOBO warns against use of memes without owner’s authority
Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has warned individuals and corporates against
using memes for commercial purposes without obtaining consent from the owners.
This comes following a barrage of now viral memes generated from a video created by Kenyan comedians Arap Marindich and Tula in which they’re seen with dusty faces impersonating rally drivers.
KECOBO boss Edward Sigei, in a statement released on Friday, said the memes have since been used by a host of Kenyan corporate across various social media platforms, thereby raising significant copyright concerns.
“A meme is an image, video or text used in social media for humorous or political banter and illustrative of a line of thought on a topic under discussion,” said Mr. Sigei.
“Memes are in most cases static images created from a photograph, illustration, text, or video that is protected by copyright.”
According to Mr. Sigei, the Copyright Act bestows upon only the copyright holder the rights to reproduce, publish and broadcast their work for a period of time.
“In that regard, a copyright owner can create a meme from his photograph or video in exercise of their rights under copyright. Such memes can be exploited for the benefit of the author through advertising and as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs),” stated Mr. Sigei.
“Therefore, a meme generated without the authority of the Copyright owner is an infringement on their copyright particularly the exclusive rights to reproduce, copy, adapt and publish since the original photograph or video undergoes some alteration and incorporation of a text.”
He added: “Consequently, corporate bodies must consider conducting due diligence on the status of photographs or videos before being tempted to join the fun.”
The KECOBO Executive Director further noted that despite the use memes on social being tolerated, their publication for commercial purposes can attract significant civil liability.
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