KFCB Demand For Licences From YouTubers Backfires

KFCB Demand For Licences From YouTubers Backfires

Kenyan content creators woke up to surprise emails from the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) giving them a 14-day ultimatum to obtain filming licenses or face legal action. KFCB said the content creators are violating Section 4 of the Films and Stage Plays Act by operating without a filming license.

The content creators among them Jacky Vike, Mulamwah, Mwafreeka, Abel Mutua, and Eric Omondi were up in arms as they posted the email letters, on their respective social media platforms, for their followers to form a public opinion on the matter.

KFCB CEO (Acting), Paskal Opiyo, said the Act requires that all filmmakers producing films within Kenya for public exhibition or sale, locally or internationally, must obtain a filming license. He added that  Section 12 requires that all classes of film being distributed, exhibited, or broadcasted within Kenya must be examined by KFCB and a certificate of approval issued.

“We refer to the above matter and write to you as follows; our attention has been drawn to your YouTube channel where you have continuously uploaded audio-visual content for purposes of exhibiting and distributing it to the public without acquiring the requisite filming licenses from Kenya Film Classification Board,” the letters read.

“Take notice that unless you comply with the above in the next fourteen (14) days, we shall institute legal proceedings in accordance with the provisions of the Films and Stage Plays Act and other relevant laws, without further reference to you and at your own risks as to costs and other attendant consequences thereto,” KFCB added.

Awinja said, “Yaani the moment there have been increased positive content creation, job creation, and international recognition, KFCB mnafufuka.”

Terence Creative also added his voice saying, “Aki Wash Wash si ukweli ni kipindi tu mi hufanya kuhamasisha Wakenya wasiibiwe…ni acting tu aki…vitu mingi hapo ni za kutag watu…”

KFCB Demand For Licences From YouTubers Backfires
The licenses demand letter from KFCB to Terrence Creative IMAGE: Terrence Creative, FB

Social Media Backlash

Social media users were also taken aback by the directive and did not mince their words, terming the law archaic, since everyone is now basically a content creator, as long as you have a smartphone.

KFCB Demand For Licences From YouTubers Backfires
Twitter responses from angry Kenyans IMAGE: X

Film and stage plays have also not been spared either as they are also now required to obtain a valid license from the board. In a tweet on their official site, they stated:

“Section 12 of the Films and Stage Plays Act, Cap 222,  mandates the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) to issue licenses to both film exhibitors and distributors intending to display or distribute film content in Kenya.

Film exhibitors/distributors can apply and obtain filming licenses from the KFCB’s Technical Management System (TMS) available on our website via tms.kfcb.go.ke”

We are waiting to see if the content creators will cooperate or if the board will make good its threat to take legal action against them, should they fail to comply with the 14-day ultimatum.