Safaricom reassures artists about royalty payments

Wednesday 13 April 2016 | 11:18 CET | News

Kenyan operator Safaricom has assured Kenyan artists that their money, collected in the form of Skiza tunes royalty payments, is safe, Star reported. The statement comes ahead of a court ruling on 15 April expected to give clear direction to the stalemate that has delayed the release of payment of the said royalties.

Some artists filed a case in court last year, seeking an injunction to stop three collective management organizations (CMOs) - Music and Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Prisk and Kamp - from entering into an agreement with Safaricom over the Skiza royalties. Safaricom director of corporate affairs, Stephen Chege, said the company is ready to pay the CMOs KES 152 million collected in Skiza royalties.

Chege said Safaricom has been collecting monthly royalties as usual and are committed to ensuring artistes get their money. Safaricom, however, stresses the need for the CMOs to have transparent accounting and accountability to its members, as well as disseminate correct information to ensure artistes are well informed. Chege added that "in January this year, Safaricom brought all involved parties together to find a way of resolving the issue, even as we await the court decision.

The parties consented to have some of the money paid out to the CMOs and the premium rate service providers. This would not have interferred with the progress of the matter already in court." MCSK, Prisk and Kamp are the only three gazetted CMOs that have been given the mandate to act on behalf of artistes including collection and distribution of any royalties due to them.

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