Running a Business

Copyrighting your intellectual property in Kenya

Given your busy work schedules and the hassles of running a business, registering your work with the copyright board is likely to be the last thing on the mind. But it is something that you might want to add to your to-do list.

Copyright protection exists the moment the work is created. But in cases of infringement, it is necessary that you should have registered your copyright to file a suit. Hence, it is important to submit your work for copyright registration.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property right that protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation,although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?

Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. But the way in which they are expressed can violate copyright laws. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of the others.

Besides protecting your work, registering your copyright makes it easier for a potential infringer to track you down and legitimately obtain a license to use your work and avoid litigation. Copyright protection on your work can also be of benefit if a client refuses to pay for images they have already used. Registration of your images can be a powerful tool if you are faced with a situation that requires you to enforce your contractual terms with a client.

Registration Requirements

Original musical, literary, artistic, audio visual works, sound recordings and broadcasts are eligible for copyright protection.

Procedure for Registration of Copyright Works
  • To be accepted for registration, a work must be original and must be expressed in writing or any other form. Originality in the copyright sense means that the work must not have copied from somebody else
  • Application shall be a prescribed form obtained from the copyright office
  • The applicant should attach two copies of the works, where applicable
  • The application form must be witnessed by a commissioner for oaths and accompanied by the required fees
  • The following particulars will also be required
  • Name and address of the applicant,
  • Physical address of the applicant,
  • Category of works either artistic, literary, audio visual, musical, sound recording or a broadcast

On receiving the application, the office may, after making such enquiry as it may deem fit, enter the particulars of the work in a Copyright Register.

  • Must be a company limited by guarantee
  • Principal objective should be the collection and distribution of royalties
  • A non-profit making company
  • Have regularly audited accounts
  • Application shall be in the prescribed form CR 12
  • The applicant shall attach the following documents:
  • Certificate of registration of the company
  • Certified copy of the company’s memorandum and articles of association
  • Where applicable, a certified copy of the company’s annual return showing the corporate structure of the company during the period of January to December of the year preceding the application
  • Where applicable, audited accounts of the company for five years preceding the date of application for registration
  • Full list of names and addresses of all members of the society
  • Any other information that the Board may require the company to produce
  • The application should be accompanied by the prescribed fees
  • The copyright office will process the application and the outcome will be communicated to the applicant. The office will also publish the name of the successful applicants in Kenya Gazette and issue a licensing certificate for one year
  • The license is renewable annually and the fees is Ksh 10,000/-

Fill in the application form and submit with the prescribed fees to the Kenya Copyright Board. The fee is Ksh 20,000/-

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

Copyright Protection:
Copyright protection comes up automatically once a work has been created and it does not depend on registration. Copyright law, however, protects only the form of expression of ideas and not procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such.

Registration of Copyright Works:
The Copyright maintains a data bank on authors and their work by registering copyright works.

The Copyright Register

The copyright register is maintained by the Copyright Office and contains the following particulars:

  • The number and the title of the copyright work
  • The name, address and nationality of the copyright holder
  • The date of application for registration of a copyright work
  • A license granted by the copyright holders
  • A notice of every document effecting a change in address or ownership of the work or purporting to give interest in it as security
  • If the copyright holder dies, a notice to that effect accompanied by the death certificate, and Any other information required under the Act, or these Regulations or that the Executive Director considers appropriate to be recorded in the Copyright Register

The Copyright Office will then issue a certificate of registration.

Importance of Registration

The Register will act as a record of copyright works and anybody can access the records. The register enables the Government to know who the authors are and what their works are. Authentication device database will be used for implementation of Advocacy.

Entrepreneurial Learning

There can be a great damage to your business if you don’t protect your intellectual property. Taking little care like being careful with important documents, confidential matters will give you an advantage in the competitive market. The importance of intellectual property lies in making new inventions and creations an asset to your company and will make you stand prior in the market.

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