Kenyan Copyright Collection Society Shockingly Found To Be Paying Artists Very Little

from the no-way! dept

The very existence of copyright collection societies, those organizations that try to find any way to squeeze any amount of money of any businesses that in any way do anything with any music, is predicated on one excuse: they do all of this for the artists. Yes, throughout the world, benevolent money-changers are digging through the pockets of mostly small business owners, just trying to get some coin for song-writers and musicians. Nevermind that they’ll occasionally jack up the fees they collect when they find they actually have to do the job of protecting artists. Nevermind that the disease of corruption appears to find these collection societies to be particularly good hosts. It’s for the artists, maaaan.

Except it never really is. People who aren’t paid to say nice things about these collection groups seem to know this intrinsically, the same way a child somehow knows not to reach to scratch the underside of a wasp’s chin in order to make a friend. Here to serve as one good example of just how not-about-the-artists these collection societies are is the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), which is being given a stern talking to by the Kenyan government for paying artists less than a third of the money it collects on their behalf.

The MCSK boss, Maurice Okoth, is said to have appointed Nasratech as a Premium Rate Service Provider to licence and collect royalties from ring tones. His wife Shamillah Kiptoo has controlling shares at Nasratech.

The licence allows Nasratech to exploit the catalogue on any platforms as ring tones and ringback tones or any other tones required by a client. Attempts to reach Okoth for comment were futile as he did not answer calls or reply to text messages. The board says it has noted the ratio of royalties to expenditure from MCSK’s audited accounts amounts to 58.9 per cent of collected revenue. Only 29.2 per cent is left, or is spared, for royalties. The other 21.9 per cent is used for other activities.

I humbly suggest that we refer to this as the Kenyan Collection Society Trifecta. You take equal parts nuptial nepotism, money-grubbing, and money-hiding — and you have the kind of story that makes one wonder why any artist would want to be associated with these people at all. Kenya, by the by, has established guidelines for the ratio of royalties to expenses these collection groups are supposed to follow. Those guidelines require 70 percent royalties to artists and 30 percent expenditures. In other words, MCSK isn’t even remotely close. In fact, it almost looks like MCSK misunderstood the ratios, in the reverse. Except that wouldn’t explain the ongoing trend at MCSK.

The amount of royalties to artistes has been decreasing every year. Royalties paid in June 2014 were less than those paid in June 2013, according to Kecobo executive director Marisella Ouma. The MCSK has ignored Kecobo’s requests to provide a breakdown of expenses.

In other words, MCSK isn’t confused. It would simply like to keep more money, please, because this isn’t about the artists and never was. This was about taking copyright law and converting it into a skimming scheme. Anyone really want to suggest that the collection societies in North America and Europe are any different?

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Comments on “Kenyan Copyright Collection Society Shockingly Found To Be Paying Artists Very Little”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

At what point is it finally fair to demand they open up the books to support the claims?
They get all of the other services they are shaking down to open up their books, and magically somehow even though they take a lions share, artists only get a tiny amount. If they had to lay bare where all the money was being chipped away, perhaps many of these societies would cease to have members.

Anonymous Coward says:

AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

a) Apparently only for “ring tones”, and I’d judge LOW artistic effort.

b) As compared to ZERO with no collection agency.

c) Would need actual accounting to determine whether expenses are unreasonable in a likely LOW-YIELD area. You have not done any such investigating, now have you? Just use it as is for the usual attack on collection / copyright.

d) They’re referred to as “artistes”, and why are you sticking up for effete ponces?

e) For all we know, this is a political attack. You have merely re-written from an untrustable source (as all are), without checking the milieu.

BUT let’s say this is true and bad — IF you’d just stick to railing at the money “Hollywood” gets for its crap, that’d be fine with me!

Attempt FIVE.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘This was about taking copyright law and converting it into a skimming scheme. Anyone really want to suggest that the collection societies in North America and Europe are any different?’

absolutely not! but going even further, the whole Hollywood and entertainment industries scam is simply that, and is not, never was and never will be about money! it’s all about control! they dont want to change what they are doing and no politician, law maker or government is even attempting to get them to change, take notice of customers and start doing what they should. the USA and the UK politicians, being all in it together, will definitely not want them to change because they are using what the industries are doing as an excuse to be able to ramp up surveillance on everyone and get web sites shut down at the drop of a hat!!

David says:

Re: Re:

They are more efficient, with better ratios, partly related to nice accounting tricks, partly to favoritism (a payout is a payout, even if it benefits the same artists over and over again, with benefits often being in the form of coupons, I mean promotional campaigns). Of course, the money circulating in the music industry is several orders of magnitudes larger in the First World, so quite a few more grabbing executives can be paid off considerably more lavishly while still not burning a larger percentage of income.

Of course, it is the dream of every starving song writer to have the largest chunk of the proceeds from his work go into the stage lighting of the superstar of the year, the next largest chunk go into some record executive’s swimming pool, the next go into administrative building complexes and so on.

Stevo (profile) says:

of course business in the United States is EXACTLY the same as Africa.
BTW have you circumcised any daughters lately?
“Anyone really want to suggest that the collection societies in North America and Europe are any different?”
instead of speculating wildly you could just ask any songwriter, not me tho.
I’m kinda busy spending my latest quarterly deposit from BMI.

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