Government Imposes Levy on Smartphones And Recording Devices

Government Imposes Levy on Smartphones And Recording Devices

Government Imposes Levy on Smartphones And Recording Devices

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has announced the imposition of a new fee. on any media capable of recording or reproducing copyrighted material. This covers, among other things, smartphones, CDs, DVDs, and USB devices.Fee collection is planned to commence on September 15, with blank media producers and importers bearing the burden.

The tax will be levied at the point of sale of the devices and is expected to increase  creatives’ royalties as well as reduce the revenue lost by those individuals when  their contents are reproduced. According to KECOBO, the costs will be modest, which means they will be  insignificant to consumers.

“This is to notify the general public of the commencement of the implementation of the Blank Tape Levy with effect from September 15, 2023, pursuant to sections 28(3)(6) and 30(6) of the Copyright Act and the second schedule part B of the Copyright Regulations 2020,” KECOBO’s notice stated in portions.”Blank Tape Levy is collected on items that may be used to carry copyright protected content for private copying and is payable at the point of entry into Kenya or the point of first manufacture locally,” the copyright board explained.

According to Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) CEO, Ezekiel Mutua, the implementation of this levy will see the country generate Ksh 6 billion annually.This is a significant increase from the Ksh200 million they currently make.Sharing similar sentiments with Mutua, sports CS Ababu Namwamba shed light on the changes during a past interview with, adding that money would used to establish key facilities all over the country, including digital content creators’ academies, which will train and up skill creatives. “We are revamping the exercise of royalties collection because that is where the problem is. We are implementing a digital system that will help us collect the royalties digitally,” Namwamba stated

While this is potentially excellent news for creatives, concerns about price increases in the affected goods have grown, especially given the country’s high cost of living. As a result, it is unclear how much money would be levied on the electronics and how this will effect the prices of those products in the country.

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