As Bien said, a society without art has no culture. A society that does not create a convenient space for artists to create will, in the long run, kill the morale of creatives to create. This means eventually culture DIES.

On 15February 2022, the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Information & Innovation heard memoranda submitted by various stakeholders regarding the copyright Bill amendment.

Hon. Gladys Wanga has proposed to Parliament to repeal (remove) Section 35B of the Copyright Act that states a person whose rights have been infringed by content accessed through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) may request for the content to be removed in order to stop the infringement/piracy.

Assented into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta in October 2019, Sections 35B, 35C and 35D are game-changing provisions for Kenya, and the first of their kind in Africa (although common internationally). The provisions protect the creative industry in Kenya by providing incentives and a legal basis for better co-operation with ISPs, to avoid them being accused of enabling piracy, and to support rightsholders in their fight against piracy.

Repealing sections 35B, 35C and 35D would weaken the fight against content piracy, as it would remove the first line of defense – the ISPs and other platforms that could potentially enable piracy. The Bill proposed to scrap the allowance for issuing ISPs with take-down notices, which direct them to remove content suspected of violating copyright.

Through the global awareness raised by PAP and its supporters since the first reading of the Bill last November, parliament has received an avalanche of local and international memoranda against the proposed repeal of sections 35B, 35C and 35D.

Protestations from local stakeholders in this matter include Hon. John Kiarie, (MP) who declared that “the proposal to repeal these sections represent the biggest setback in the history of copyright and is akin to disarming Kenyan authors and rights holders.”

The Petition from, Creative Society of Kenya ; Stop Kenyan MPs from Legalising Piracy which hurts Musicians, Filmmakers & other Creatives Said

“If the law is repealed, Kenya’s ability to innovate and the livelihoods of all within the creative ecosystem are at risk – actors, actresses, filmmakers and musicians is threatened by piracy.

We are calling on Hon. Gladys Wanga to change the bill and remove the part of the bill that is supposed to repeal section 35B.

We are also calling on Members of Parliament not to allow this particular amendment because it will negatively affect our artists and musicians by allowing piracy of their content.

Finally, we are seeking the support and leadership of our President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta. Mr. President, please do not sign such a bill into law.  It will affect your artists and musicians and all those who depend on Creative Industry for their livelihood.”

Welcoming the dropping of Clauses 5, 6 and 7 in the Bill, PAP convener and co-founder of MyMovies.Afric Mike Strano said, “we can now move forward with the implementation of Sections 35B, 35C and 35D, which will be transformational for Kenya’s creative industry and a model for Africa.”

Strano said PAP had spent the past two years co-creating a framework around takedown notices and other matters with the Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) – where ISPs are members – via a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

“We hope that the MoU can be signed immediately,” said Strano, “so that creatives will be able to co-operate with the ISPs against piracy, for mutual benefit and the sustainability of Kenya’s creative industry.”