KECOBO Mandates Restaurant Registration for Music Playback, Imposes Kes.500,000 Fine

May 21, 2024

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has directed restaurant owners to obtain a license to play music on their premises.

KECOBO stated that restaurant owners should submit license applications through Collective Management Organizations (CMOs).

“To play music, you need a CMO license. Currently, the CMOS have suspended operations until their licenses or new licenses are issued,” KECOBO stated.

Restaurant owners must apply through the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), a CMO representing authors, composers, and publishers of musical works.

Playing music on business premises without a CMO license could result in a fine not exceeding Kes.500,000 or imprisonment for up to four years, KECOBO warned.

According to MCSK, the license covers music and audiovisual performances provided by various devices in areas such as restaurants, cafes, bars, and casinos.

“License fees are calculated based on a percentage of the respective single business permit and liquor licenses,” outlined KECOBO.

To determine the fee, KECOBO considers the percentage of the single business permit and liquor license costs, or the single business permit alone if no liquor license is present, with a minimum flat rate.

In Kenya, hotels pay 80% of the single business permit and liquor license costs. If there’s no liquor license, they pay 100% of the single business permit cost.

According to MCSK, the amount paid should not be less than Kes.9,000 per annum, the agreed minimum flat rate.

The collected amounts are distributed to musicians by MCSK annually.

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