Be Warned: Sharing, Receiving PDF Copies of Newspapers Could Get You 10 Years in Jail

May 4, 2020

Kenyans who share PDF copies of newspapers on social media platforms risk spending up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.

In a warning to the public over the weekend, Kenya Copyrights Board (Kecobo) executive director Edward Sigei noted that there has been a surge of digital publications being forwarded on various platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram.

This only applies to copyrighted material like newspapers and magazines, and not all kinds of digital material which can for example be converted from jpg to pdfs through different software options.

According to Kecobo, both the sender and the recipient are committing an offence of being in possession of unauthorized digital copies and those found guilty could face up to 10 years behind bars.

Mr Sigei said anyone who tries to circumvent technical protection measures placed on digital platforms to access these works and downloads commits an offence.

Repeat offenders could face up to 10 times the market value of the copyright product shared or Sh2000 for each infringing copy. Alternatively, the guilty could face a jail term of 20 years.

The Copyrights Board noted that several publications are shared on WhatsApp groups, Telegram, Facebook or Twitter, which has led to a significant drop in income by some media houses.

Sigei said a major local publication had registered a complaint with the Board.

“We are currently tracking about four people who are thought to be mainly responsible for this,” he said.

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