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You Risk 10 Years in Jail For Sharing PDF Newspapers on Social Media

by Robert Mwangi
2 mins read

You have probably been tempted to share newspapers and magazines in PDF to your friends and acquaintances on social media, especially in the numerous WhatsApp groups.

If not so, you may have received forwarded messages of the dailies and other publications.

Well, you may not have known that you risk a jail term of 10 years and a hefty fine if found circulating those publications without permission from the media houses or the magazine publishers.

According to the Copyrights Act of 2001, distributing the papers online is a crime that could easily land you behind bars.

Kenya Copyrights Board (Kecobo) executive director Edward Sigei revealed that both the sender and the recipient commit the offence of being in possession of unauthorised digital copies.

“Anyone who tries to circumvent technical protection measures placed on digital platforms to access these works and downloads commits an offence,” Sigei told NTV.

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Covid-19 Impact on Newspapers

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the newspaper business, especially after the government imposed cessation of movement in a number of counties, including Nairobi and Mombasa.

However, people have continued to enjoy stories done by the newspapers through free online distribution, which has made the media companies lose millions of money.

Sigei disclosed that a major local publication had registered a complaint with Kecobo.

“We are currently tracking about four people who are thought to be mainly responsible for this,” he said.

Apart from losing significant revenue from illegal online sales, the papers’ reputation has also come under siege.

In some cases, malicious people have deliberately twisted the original headlines and shared them on digital platforms.

However, stopping online distribution will be an uphill task for Kecobo, as online platforms in Kenya are largely unregulated.

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