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Meme Lords: Why you should be careful using memes

Warning issued to Meme lords

Kenyans will now have to use extreme caution while sharing memes online, following the copyright board’s latest warning.

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOPO) has said unequivocally that a copyright holder ‘has the exclusive rights to copy, reproduce, make adaption, publish and broadcast their work for a fixed period established under the Copyright Act.’

Warning issued to Meme lords
Statement from the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOPO)

Additionally, KECOPO has clarified that a meme should only be created after consulting with the copyright holder.

“Therefore, a meme generated without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement on their copyright particularly the exclusive rights reproduce, copy, adapt, and publish since the original photograph or video undergoes some alteration and incorporation of text,” warned the Board in a statement.

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However, the board underlined that while meme consumption on social media is permitted, its production and use for commercial reasons without authorization from the copyright owners is prohibited.

“It is worth noting that in some cases, content used for generating memes may be in the public domain or released under creative common license,” the Board added.

In that regard, corporate organizations must consider completing due diligence before participating in meme replication.

“Consequently, corporate bodies must consider conducting due diligence on the status of photographs or videos before being tempted to join the fun,” ended the statement.

The limitation follows the popular meme of two Kenyan comedians, Arap Marindich and Tula, mocking the recent Safari Rally event in Naivasha.

Their expressions were so amusing that they inspired a few comical memes that went viral on social media, making hundreds, if not millions, of rounds.

Their faces were used by both huge brands and regular citizens, raising concerns along with a warning from the Kenya Copyrights Board.

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