Kenyan flag

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has come out to dispel fears that a British company – Dewolfe Music – has the copyright to the country’s national anthem.

This is after a Kenyan content creator complained to YouTube after his video ranking African national anthems was flagged.

The reason given was that the Kenyan national anthem was copyrighted by De Wolfe Music.

KECOBO said that although copyrights usually expire after 50 years, the national anthem has additional protection.

In a statement on Tuesday, the board said,

The Kenya Copyright Board wishes to state it is indeed true that the government has copyright for its commissioned works for up to 50 years. The National Anthem is over 50 years and has thus fallen into public domain.

It continued,

However, given the place of National Anthem in any country and the provisions of the National Flags, Emblems and Names Act (Cap 99 laws of Kenya) there is additional protection of the anthem against misuse and improper use.

Under that Act, the use of the National Anthem, emblems, names and other similar symbols is restricted and their use is subject to written permission by the Interior minister, the board said.

The board acknowledged there is need to further secure the use of national symbols by making amendments to the Copyright Act to expressly state that even where copyright in certain government works is expired, the use of such works shall still be subject to authorisation as required under the National Flags, Emblems and Names Act.

The alleged claim for copyright by this company or any other to the original rendition of the National Anthem cannot therefore be supported.

KECOBO said it is studying the terms and conditions in YouTube with the aim of requesting for the removal of all content offending the National Anthem by Dewolfe Music and others.

Last year, there was an uproar against Walt Disney over the phrase ‘Hakuna matata’. Although many thought the trademark had been filed last year, records showed this was origanally done in 1994 during the time Lion King was released. The phrase was used on numerous occasions throughout the film.

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