The interwebs are awake with the hashtag #IntellectualPropertyMustBeRespected since an article that ran on The East African revealed a project fashioned by Kenya’s leading boyband, SautiSol had been snatched up by the government without their consent.
The Project dubbed “Studio Mashinani” is a series of digital studios to be put up in all the 47 counties in Kenya to enable the talented youth in the rural areas to create and commercialize their music.
A proposal of the same had been presented by the boy band to His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2015 but they never heard any follow-up up until now that they hear about its launch.
The model studios already located in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Machakos counties respectively, were set to launch on 17 presided over by Jamaican artiste Luciano.
One of the band members, Bien-Aime Baraza, revealed the information to the public through social media. He said,
“On December 29 2015 I had the honor to meet with His Excellency The President in Statehouse Mombasa. The agenda was Kenya Music Industry and Youth. Myself and my Sauti sol brothers shared a proposal called STUDIO MASHINANI with His Excellency.
It was an extensive project involving Music studios, community radio, ICT Centers and Libraries with the spirit of community service.
We were further instructed to give the proposal to Bruce Odhiambo who was at the time Chair of the Youthfund office. We teamed up with Raphael Obonyo, Cedric Kadenyi tighten the whole proposal with budgets and standard operating systems for the project.
The Proposal was sent to the relevant parties. Only to wake up today a year and some months later to see the project being launched countrywide by a JAMAICAN ARTIST!!!!!! NOT EVEN A KENYAN!!!!!I am not in any way implying that The President has a hand in this because he deals with millions of things and this may just be one of those that he delegated.
I feel so robbed. I plan to make everything public soon. Just so that the ones who want to can learn from it.”
Artists and Kenyans at large are concerned that the government can have a hand in robbing artists of their intellectual property when they are the ones supposed to protect them from such abuses.
This is not the first time this is happening to artists as there are several who have shared ideas with government bodies only for their ideas to be relaunched under different names.
Other than that, the artistes involved in the debate say it beats logic to have an artiste from another country to launch a product meant for the Kenyan citizen.