Azimio ‘willing to pay’ Sauti Sol for copyright infringement

Sauti Sol

Sauti Sol band members, from left, Polycarp Otieno, Willis Chimano, Savara Mudigi and Bien-Aimé Baraza. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party is willing to pay Sauti Sol for using their song on Monday during the unveiling of Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua as its running mate, the Nation has established.

The four-member band threatened to sue Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga for copyright infringement over the use of their song “Extravaganza” without their consent.

Mr Odinga reached out to the boys’ band in an attempt to resolve the row.

 Mr Moriasi Omambia, the head of Sauti Sol’s legal team, told the Nation yesterday that while nothing has been agreed upon yet between the two parties, Azimio is willing to pay the band.

 “I won’t comment on the progress made on the matter, but what I can confirm to you is that Raila and Azimio are more than willing to resolve the matter amicably,” Omambia stated.

Yesterday, Mr Omambia said that Azimio lawyers and himself are working to resolve the infringement row.

“We acknowledge their willingness to quickly resolve the matter at hand,” he said.

In their statement on Monday, Bien Aime Baraza, Polycarp Otieno, Savara Mudigi and Willis Chimano stated that Mr Odinga and Azimio contravened Section 35, CAP 170 of the Copyright Act of Kenya.

“We did not license this song to the Azimio la Umoja campaign nor did we give any consent for its use in the announcement of their vice-president candidate. Furthermore, our authority to use the composition, which is one of our most distinct, was neither sought nor given,” they said.

 “This action is a flagrant disregard of our basic and fundamental rights to property and freedom of association. Through their action, they have taken away the rights to own and control what is originally and solely our property and have directly associated us to their campaign without our consent,” added the band.

 Following the statement, Mr Odinga’s ODM party explained that their use of the song is a show of appreciation and love for their work.

 The row saw Sauti Sol lose over 2,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel. The band was also heavily attacked on social media platforms.

However, according to Bien, the trolls did not shake them, noting that most Kenyans lack information on intellectual property rights.

“It’s clear that the majority of people are uninformed about intellectual property rights. Using someone’s intellectual property without their consent is stealing,” Bien noted.

Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) has backed Sauti Sol’s claims stating that Azimio needed a synchronised license and not the public performance licence for which Mr Odinga and his team paid Sh562,500 to the Collective Management Organisation, Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK).

“The use of sound recording with a soundtrack with visual images in a film, video, television show, commercial, or other audio-visual production is not part of the license,”  Mr Edward Sigei, Kecobo CEO, said.

However, MCSK director Ezekiel Mutua said the Azimio coalition was licensed to use any song, including that of Sauti Sol in his campaigns.