Fair copyright in Kenya

EIFL supports libraries in Kenya for a fair copyright law, and a fair outcome in negotiations for a US-Kenya Free Trade Agreement

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The EIFL team at WIPO SCCR/39 (2019), from left: Janegrace Kinyanjui and Joseph Kavula (Kenya), librarians from Kenya taking part in negotiations for the first time; Kathy Matsika (Zimbabwe), Awa Diouf Cissé (Senegal) and EIFL-IP Manager, Teresa Hackett.


EIFL has been engaged in copyright work in Kenya since 2008.

We have provided training and built capacity among librarians in copyright and advocacy with our partner, the Kenya Libraries and Information Services Consortium (KLISC).

We have responded to public consultations on copyright law proposals that concern libraries, educational institutions and liability of internet service providers (such as libraries that provide digital services) that led to improved provisions, and we have made recommendations for library-friendly amendments to the law. 

Through advocacy and technical support, we contributed to adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities - Kenya ratified the treaty in 2017 - and its implementation into national law. We also engaged with the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) to share their national experience of adopting the treaty with other countries in the region.

In 2020, we are working with KLISC towards a fair outcome in negotiations for a proposed US-Kenya Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to ensure that any FTA supports the work of libraries in Kenya providing access to knowledge for education, research, and community development. 


2008 - 2020

Main activities and achievements

  • Built capacity of library leadership in copyright issues and advocacy:
  • Draft proposals on the liability of Internet service providers (ISPs) were improved, and the meaning of certain provisions were clarified: ISP liability is of great interest to libraries that provide digital services, such as Internet access to their users, as well as indexes and location tools to third party websites.
    • 2015: Responded to an invitation by the Kenya Copyright Board to stakeholders to comment on draft proposals to provide web blocking measures in cases of online copyright infringement.  Comments by EIFL and KLISC on ISP liability proposals highlighted serious problems with two provisions: the short notice to disable access to allegedly infringing material (36 hours), and the imposition of harsh criminal and civil penalties when the ISP does not disable access upon receiving a takedown notice.
  • Provided recommendations for library-friendly amendments to copyright law: EIFL provided comments and has responded to public consultations on proposals for copyright law amendments that concern disability (implementing the Marrakesh Treaty), libraries, and educational institutions. 
  • Engaged in advocacy for a fair outcome for the US-Kenya Free Trade Agreement: In Free Trade Agreements that contain a chapter on Intellectual Property, libraries are concerned with copyright issues. Typically four main issues are of concern: term of protection, limitations and exceptions, technological protection measures (TPMs), and enforcement measures.
    • 2020: EIFL and KLISC prepared a Fact Sheet on the Proposed US-Kenya Free Trade Agreement, to raise awareness of the negotiations, and potential issues for libraries among the library community in Kenya.
    • EIFL is coordinating a working group with Kenyan and US civil society to seek the best outcomes for libraries in Kenya.