Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Kenya: Contagious acts of piracy spreads to Mombasa

As if they were borrowing a leaf from the Somali pirates who are terrorizing international ships along the Somali coast, a new breed of pirates has emerged along the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa. As reported by the Daily Nation, the Kenyan pirates are making huge profits from illegal distribution of programmes from international television pay channels. The pirates pay for genuine connection and rebroadcast the programmes to their subscribers.

Whereas the Somali pirates hold their victims at ransom, the Mombasa residents reportedly are ready and willing to pay as little as Ksh. 2,000 installation fee and Ksh. 1,000 per month for unlimited access to channels such as DSTV, GTV and Al-Jazeera. On average, the official connection fee by each operator is about Ksh 10,000 in addition to a monthly subscription fee of Ksh. 1800.

It should be observed that section 29 of the Copyright Act of 2001 prohibits rebroadcasting of whole or substantial part of a broadcast in its original form or in any form derived from the original. A person convicted of such an offence is liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh. 100, 0000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both. For the pirates, this is perhaps a small “price” to pay considering the enormous profits they are reaping.

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