The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has warned Kenyans and corporates against using memes for commercial purposes without obtaining consent from the owners.
Arap Marindich and Tula Chemoget, went viral imitating World Rally Championship drivers who participated in Safari Rally in Naivasha, Nakuru County in June 2022.
In a statement on Friday 5th August, KECOBO said that reproducing, making adaptations, publishing, and broadcasting the work of the comedians without consent amounts to infringement of the Copyright rule.
“A meme is an image, video or text used in social media for humorous or political banter and illustrative of a line of thought on a topic under discussion,
Memes are in most cases static images created from a photograph, illustration, text, or video that is protected by copyright.” he said.
the Copyright Act bestows upon only the copyright holder the rights to reproduce, publish and broadcast their work for a period of time.
“In that regard, a copyright owner can create a meme from his photograph or video in exercise of their rights under copyright. Such memes can be exploited for the benefit of the author through advertising and as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs),”
“Therefore, a meme generated without the authority of the Copyright owner is an infringement on their copyright particularly the exclusive rights to reproduce, copy, adapt and publish since the original photograph or video undergoes some alteration and incorporation of a text.” he stated.
“Consequently, corporate bodies must consider conducting due diligence on the status of photographs or videos before being tempted to join the fun.” he concluded.