Renowned gospel artist Reuben Kigame, alongside fellow creatives Celestine Mbogo and Stanley Ahoya, has successfully secured a court order to temporarily halt the release of funds collected under the Blank Tape Levy by the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO).

This development comes as a safeguard against the potentially unfair distribution of collected funds, aimed at protecting the rights of all copyright owners.

The Blank Tape Levy, a nominal fee imposed on the sale of blank media and electronic devices capable of copying copyrighted content, had been scheduled for implementation by KECOBO on Fi.

However, the High Court's intervention now delays this process pending the resolution of the case initiated by the trio.

In an official statement, the court granted Reuben Kigame and his co-petitioners their requested order, stating, "Prayer 2 of the Notice of Motion being an order temporarily restraining the Respondents by themselves or their agents from releasing funds collected under Section 30 B of the Copyright Act (commonly known as the Blank Tape/Media Levy) to the interested parties for distribution of the said blank tape/media levy to any person is hereby granted pending the hearing of this application inter-partes."

Importantly, the court emphasized that the petition does not challenge the collection of the Blank Tape Levy itself but rather seeks to ensure the equitable distribution of the collected funds without excluding any category of copyright owners.

Justice Lawrence Mugambi, presiding over the case, further directed all relevant parties to serve their applications, petitions, and responses within a strict timeline.

"The Petitioner/Applicant may file and serve any further documentation/rejoinder, if need be, within 7 days from the date of receipt of responses," he stated.

The case is scheduled for mention on October 16, 2023, marking a significant legal milestone in the ongoing debate surrounding copyright protection and the fair distribution of funds in Kenya's creative industry.

As stakeholders await the court's final decision, the outcome of this legal challenge may have far-reaching implications for artists, musicians, and content creators in the country.