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Pirated video sellers close shop ahead of new copyright law

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Kenya Copyright Board says new system will curb piracy. Photo/FILE

Kenya Copyright Board says new system will curb piracy. Photo/FILE 

By FRANKLIN SUNDAY and DAVID MUGWE

Posted  Tuesday, August 17  2010 at  00:00

As the Copyright Board of Kenya prepares to enforce the newly implemented authentication device, video sellers are closing down.

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“We do not know what will happen when this law takes effect, but we do not want to take any chances so we are clearing these remaining videos,” said a vendor who sought anonymity as they prepared to clear stocks.

The Sh12 million Kenya Copyright Board’s authentication system will boost the fight against piracy.

All retailers and distributors of audiovisual material will now be forced to have a three dimensional holographic symbol placed on all copies to show they are not pirated.

The hologram is embossed in a unique sticker supplied by the Copyright Board at Sh10 for each piece.

The new move was aimed at guarding against piracy by ensuring that only certified distributors and producers dealing with original audiovisual material are allowed.

According to the Copyright Board, over 90 per cent of the videos and CDs sold in Kenya are pirated.

The vice has grown over the years with the developments in technology.

The arrival of the fibre optic cables have made internet access easily available and made downloading speeds faster thus making movie downloads faster.

Reduced costs of computers and duplicators coupled with increased accessibility of video imaging and editing software have all seen more players move in on the underground industry.

Vendors have been subscribing to websites like rapidshare.net, movies-megaupload.com and piratebay.com and downloading and mass producing the videos for sale.

But for some traders, they have adopted a wait-and-see option as the Copyright Board of Kenya is yet to make good on its threat to raid and shut down illegal retailers.

A spot check by Business Daily last week showed that in places like River Road, Muthurwa Market and Mfangano Street, mass production, packing and selling of pirated audiovisual material continues.

As a result, many legitimate video rental vendors have been put out of business and other music producers and sellers have continued to suffer as their music and videos are mass produced and sold without authorisation.

But some players in the music industry seem to have mixed views on the law and information is scanty.

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