Failures

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
collection society, copyright, kenya

Companies:
mcsk



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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 1:10pm

    Note to self: Start up your own copyright collection society...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dr evil, 28 Aug 2015 @ 1:16pm

    for USA collection societies

    RICO anyone?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 1:31pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 1:36pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 1:41pm

      Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

      Back in your hole, Parsons....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

        Back in your hole, Parsons....


        I don't get it.

        Maybe I'm just a bit slow on the uptake, but I didn't get your reference to "Parsons" the first time you used it either.

        Could you elaborate a little bit, please?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Dark Helmet (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 2:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

          You have to read 1984 :)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Gwiz (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 8:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

            You have to read 1984 :)

            Ah. Ok. I've been meaning to actually read that book ever since I bullshitted may way through a book report on that 35 years ago.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Sheogorath (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 9:47pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

              I found an online copy you can read legally: Here ya go!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 10:23pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

                That's not legal in the US, UK, France or anywhere else the term is life + more than 50, have to wait another 5 years.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Sheogorath (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 10:41pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

                  Well, I don't know about France, but in both the UK and the US, it's perfectly legal to access content via a web browser so long as that content is legally hosted. Since all of George Orwell's works are Public Domain in Australia and Canada...

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 1:05pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

                    Are you sure about that? It doesn't sound right at all.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Sheogorath (profile), 29 Aug 2015 @ 10:41pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

                      100%. It's no different than borrowing the print book from the library except it's digital and you're certain to be able to access it.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 10:53pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

                        sounds 'wishful'

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        • icon
                          Sheogorath (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 2:52am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

                          Well, it's not like you have to follow the link. I just put it there because I'm certain of my position.

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 4:22am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

                            You are often wrong, so forgive me If I just don't believe you.
                            Everything with a grain of salt, and all that.

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                            • icon
                              Sheogorath (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 8:42am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: AND been exposed! Presumably handled.

                              So because I sometimes misread an article and therefore get confused as to what area of IP law it's about, that makes me 'often wrong'? Worzel Gummidge would be so proud of you.

                              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 5:56pm

      Re:

      "You should let them steal your money! It's better than you NOT throwing money at rich corporations!" - Translation from out_of_the_blue

      Fucking useless asswipe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 1:57pm

    '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!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 2:19pm

    ...Those guidelines require 70 percent royalties to artists and 30 percent expenditures...

    If the US had that we wouldn't have so many problems now.

    It's long past time the US admit it doesn't always know best.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 29 Aug 2015 @ 7:35am

      Re:

      Even if the US (and the UK) had guidelines like that, it would be 70% to record companies and a pittance to the actual artists. ;(

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 12:52pm

        Re: Re:

        All collection agencies have distribution targets.
        PRS's latest distribution ratio was 88.6% of revenue, ASCAP 87.6, Apra/Amcos 87.2

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:13pm

    It's a matter of terminology really

    They're called Collection agencies, not Distribution agencies. They're in the business of collecting money(for themselves), not distributing it(to the artists).

    Really, expecting them to distribute money is showing a gross misunderstanding of just what they do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DanA, 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:28pm

    Anyone really want to suggest that the collection societies in North America and Europe are any different?

    I want to suggest it very badly in hopes of making it true but I just can't do that with a straight face.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 29 Aug 2015 @ 2:15am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stevo (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 5:53am

        Re: Re:

        what you say is true of the record labels but the article is discussing PROs (performing rights organisations) which pay very generously to those who write their own songs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 5:07pm

    And they still wonder why people share music and movies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 6:15pm

    That's 110%...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 9:17pm

    I am shocked!

    They are giving the artists a fifth of the revenue? That is uncharacteristically generous for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stevo (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 5:35am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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