The Copyright Board has urged corporate entities to exercise caution when using memes generated from creative productions owned by Kenyan artists.

The board claims that using their memes without permission from the content creators constitutes copyright infringement.

“A meme generated without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement on their copyright particularly the exclusive right to reproduce, copy and adapt and publish since the original video or photograph undergoes some alteration and incorperation of a text,” executive director Edward Sigei said.

Concerns were raised by the board due to the use of videos by comic artists Arap Marindich and Tula on various social media platforms.

According to Sigei, the videos were used to create humour and political banter on social media platforms by individuals and corporate entities, raising copyright concerns.

“While the use of memes in social media is tolerated, its creation and use for commercial purposes can attract significant commercial liability and must be cleared from the authors,” he added.

Sigei stated that, while a video or static image can trend and cause comic relief at any given time, the Copyright Act grants the copyright holder the exclusive right to copy, reproduce, adapt, publish, and broadcast their work.

He claims that such memes can be used to benefit the author through advertising and as Non-Fungible-Tokens (NFTs).

Sigei stated that while such content could have been released under a creative commons license,”corporate bodies must consider conducting due diligence on the status of photographs or videos being being tempted to join the fun.” 

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The trending meme-faced comedian dropped out of high school before joining Form 3. As stated earlier, the 37-year-old became an overnight celebrity for the trending memes based on his popular Naivasha Safari Rally skit that tickled Kenyans.

Despite the fact that the video is in Kalenjin, Marindich’s gestures and body language are hilarious even to those who don’t understand a single word he says.