Copyright Amendment Bill of 2017 on Track as High Court Dismisses Bernsoft’s Petition Against ISPs


A legal matter has been brewing in court over copyright issues. The case was taken to the High Court of Kenya where Bernsoft Interactive, a content provider and web services company that is affiliated to Safaricom’s Skiza Tune service, wanted the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take down content that infringes on copyrights.

It should be noted that the case was filed in 2014. At that time, Bernsoft was representing the interests of a couple of other content creators and copyright owners against a number of ISPs and the Government through Kenya’s ICT watchdog, the Communications Authority (CA), The Kenya Copyright Board (KeCoBo) and the Attorney General.

After almost five years, the petitioners (Bernsoft) made an application to abandon the petition following the law making process of the proposed bill.

On the whole, the petitioners needed regulations that would force ISPs to take down any music, art, photographs, sound recordings and broadcasts uploaded via the internet channels.

Notably, KeCoBo proposed a law that would address the said issues, including forcing ISPs to delete such content. Dubbed Copyright Amendment Bill of 2017, the law is yet to be approved as it is in the Committee Stage in the National Assembly. The public has also been invited to air their views on the proposal. The deadline for comments is on February 13 at 5 PM.

Generally speaking, the proposal aims to introduce ISP liability. If approved by the President, content creators will have a voice to make a complaint about illegally distributed art. At the same time, they will have the power to compel ISPs to pull down such content in a timely manner, else they get punished.