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Safaricom And Jamii Telecom Sued By MultiChoice Kenya Over Copyright Infringement



In a landmark case that will put to test the newly legislated Copyright Act 2019, MultiChoice Kenya, a Pay-TV service provider has sued Safaricom and Jamii Telecom over copyright infringement.

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MultiChoice, in the lawsuit filed earlier this month, wants the court to compel Safaricom and Jamii to block access to websites streaming matches. According to the suit, Safaricom and Jamii offer pirated streams from their SuperSport channels.

Section 35B of the Copyright Act obligates an Internet service provider to take down any infringing content within 48 hours of being served with a takedown notice,” says MultiChoice in court papers.

On October 29, MultiChoice sent a takedown notice to the two firms that they accused Safaricom and Jamii Telecom of ignoring their demand.takedown notice dated October 29.

“The rebroadcasting, retransmitting or replicating the exclusive content of the applicant without their authorization is a breach of their rights, is unlawful and causes irreparable economic loss to the applicant, not to mention other losses and evils that piracy perpetrates,” MultiChoice said.

Two months ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2019. The newly enacted law introduced new clauses that placed liability for copyright infringement on Internet service providers (ISPs).

“A person whose rights have been infringed by content to which access is being offered by an Internet service provider may request, by way of a takedown notice, that the ISP removes the infringing content,” says Section 35B of the Act in part.

The amendments have given regulators a wider legal mandate in administrating legislation on copyright and intellectual property.

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Copyright Board of Kenya and Communications Authority of Kenya issued a joint notice earlier this month giving broadcasters and ISPs until the end of November to comply with the new law.

This comes at a time when Safaricom and local ISPs have been accused of pursuing to challenge the constitutionality of sections 35B, 35C and 35D. The telcos want to scoot the enforcement of the new law.

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