Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Copyright Society stopped from collecting ring tone royalties

According to Business Daily here, the High Court has ordered the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) to stop collecting ring tone royalties from Cellulant Kenya Ltd pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Justice Luka Kimaru however ordered Cellulant to deposit KSh. 2 million within 30 days failure to which the injunctive order would automatically cease.

Cellulant is in the business of offering mobile phone value added services of musical and artistic works such as phone ring tones, logos and pictures. To facilitate its business, it had entered into agreements with music artists in relation to the songs to be used as ring tones. For the use of the music, Cellulant pays royalties directly to the artists.

The order arises from a ruling in an earlier case in July, when Cellullant failed to obtain orders restraining the Society from demanding royalties in respect of the ring tones. However it obtained an interlocutory injunction restraining MCSK from trespassing into its premises and interfering with its business. Apparently MCSK had raided the premises of the plaintiff and seized four computers on allegations that the Cellulant had infringed copyright of its members.

It is against these orders that Cellulant then pleaded with the High Court to restrain the society from demanding royalties pending the appeal. Cellulant contends that MCSK has no right to demand payment since it had entered into agreements with individual music artists who it was paying for use of the music content.

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