Kenya’s High Court ruled that local ISPs must permanently block 44 sports streaming sites in a case that will go down in history. MultiChoice, which owns the rights to show popular sports events on TV, filed the lawsuit. Last year, there was an attempt to eliminate the law in question in Parliament, but it did not pass.
Copyright holders have tried many different things over the years to stop people from stealing their work online, with mixed results.
Site blocking has become one of the most popular answers. Blocking actions are not flawless but the general idea is that they make it hard for casual pirates to choose legal ways to get what they want.
Courts have made orders to stop in dozens of countries around the world. Europe was the first place to put up a blockade, but countries in Asia and the Americas soon followed. Africa has been slightly behind, but that is also beginning to change.
Kenya’s High Court Issues Pirate Site Blocking Order
A few days ago, the High Court of Kenya approved a legal ruling that tells local ISPs like Safaricom and Jamii Telecom to block dozens of illegal sports streaming sites.
The list of sites has 44 names, such as Cricfree, Firstsrowsports, Rojadirecta, Totalsportek, and Yalla-shoot. At the end of this article is a summary of all the sites.
The case began in 2019 when MultiChoice Kenya sent takedown notices to the providers, hoping they would block the sites that let people watch sports online. The broadcaster went to Court when that didn’t happen.
Last week, Justice Wilfrida Okwany concluded that the ISPs are obliged by law to do something. When a legitimate takedown request comes from a copyright owner, Internet providers can’t just ignore it as this one did.
This is the first order to block illegal streaming sites in Kenya. According to a 2019 change to the copyright law of the country. The new version of the law lets copyright holders ask ISPs to take down content. The Court said that Internet providers couldn’t “remove” third-party sites but could block them.
The ISPs are disappointed by the decision. They used to support a plan to eliminate the Copyright Act change. This idea was eventually taken off the table in Parliament, partly because the US Government got involved.
Nancy Matimu, the Managing Director of MultiChoice Kenya, is happy with the result, which she says is an essential step in the fight against piracy in Africa.
“We have been fighting for years to ensure that there are legal copyright protections, and that those protections are enforced. The Court has reaffirmed the stance of the law that copyright must be protected.”
Matimu hopes that Kenya’s decision to block sites will give other African countries ideas. It will be a good sign for international copyright owners if more people do the same thing.
“This is a landmark ruling. With this verdict, Kenya is saying that any business looking to invest in Kenya can rest assured that their intellectual property will be protected.”
‘More could be done’
International copyright holders will be happy to hear that Kenya is now blocking sites. But there are still many other things on their list of things they want.
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), made up of the MPA and the RIAA, gave the US Government a list of flaws in Kenya’s copyright and enforcement system last week.
IIPA would like to see Kenya, among other things, create a policy for repeat copyright violations that lets them get their accounts closed. Also, there is a need to extend the copyright period to include the author’s life plus 70 years.
The complete list of 44 blocked sites is as follows.
8. soccer-live stream
10. vipbox live
19. HD streams
20. Cdn livetvcdn
34. Barcelona stream
35. sport stream
38. Sport365 live
39. Kora-online TV
40. Stream woop