Mobile service provider Safaricom says it is ready to pay Sh152 million proceeds from Skiza tunes to artistes who have not been paid since July 2015 because of a pending court case.
The funds were to be paid to artistes through their Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) namely Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Performers’ Rights Society of Kenya (Prisk) and the Kenya Association of Music Producers (Kamp).
MCSK is a CMO for authors, composers and publishers, PRISK protects performers’ rights while KAMP represents producers/sound engineers.
The money has, however, not been released because of court injunctions, but Safaricom says it will comply with the court’s ruling on Friday.
The three CMOs entered into an agreement with Safaricom in July 2015 but the shift from the previous arrangement where artistes were paid through private firms faced stiff opposition from artistes.
Soon after the deal was signed, some artistes moved to court to compel the telecommunication giant to pay them directly as opposed to channeling the funds through the CMOs.
“Unfortunately, as soon as we signed that agreement, which would have allowed payments to flow directly to these management organisations an injunction was on Safaricom forcing us not to pay any monies to the CMOs and because of that Safaricom has not been able to issue the money to the artistes,” said Stephen Chege, the Director of Corporate Affairs at Safaricom.
The Telecommunication firm insists that all records of the downloads through the Skiza platform are available to artistes and that the current amount that needs to be paid out is Sh152million, which should be given to artistes who own the songs downloaded through the platform.
The telecommunication giant has now assured the artistes that come Friday, April 15, 2016 when the ruling is made, it will comply and make payments as directed by the court.
“We have been ready to make these payments for a very long time so as soon as the court order is released we shall have our lawyers advise us how to make the payments… Our intention is that the artistes benefit from the platform (Skiza),” concluded Mr Chege.
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