The Kenya Copyright Board has issued an advisory on memes and copyright law stating that the use of such content raises significant copyright concerns.
The regulatory board went further and stated that ulitilizing such memes as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) amounts to copyright infringement as per the laws of Kenya.
This advisory comes after a series of memes by 2 Kenyan comic artists went viral and continued to trend across various social media platforms. The memes have been utilized by both individuals and corporates and this has raised concerns about their use for commercial purposes.
According to the Kenya Copyright Board:
“A meme generated without the authority of the Copyright owner is an infringement on their copyright particularly the exclusive rights to reproduce, copy, adapt and publish since the original photo or video undergoes alteration and incorporation of a text.”
– Kenya Copyright Board
The advisory is the first of its kind that specifically mentions and recognizes non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as a means of exploiting art for monetary gain.
In early 2022, Safaricom the largest corporate in Kenya, and the company behind the M-PESA mobile money system, highlighted the use of NFTs as a means of generating revenue by Kenyan artists . In the video interview, a young Kenyan NFT artist is depicted as he talks about his work and as he demonstrates how he gets paid in Ethereum and how he is able to cash out via M-PESA on Binance P2P.
With Kenya being one of the leading bitcoin P2P marketplaces globally, the advisory by the Kenyan regulator is warranted as more Kenyans leverage NFTs as a viable means of revenue generation.