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.

According to Kecobo, both the sender and the recipient are committing an offence of being in possession of unauthorised 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.