Yesterday I happened to speak with some representatives from the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) at an event promoting local music in Kenya. I was shocked to learn that, in Kenya, music works are granted copyright protection for 50 years after the death of the composer. I’m neither a musician nor a lawyer (so maybe I don’t “get it”), but it certainly seems like there is something wrong with that legislation.
For example, let’s say I’m twenty-five years old and I publish a song in the year 1900. If I die in 1960, at the age of eighty five, my copyright would have just expired this year (2010). Exactly whose interests is the copyright protecting fifty years after my death? Keep in mind, the song would have been published 110 years ago! Do you know what people were doing in Kenya ~100 years ago?