Kenya: Update - Multichoice Loses Appeals Battle In Case Against Safaricom

Recalling previous reports, Pay TV operator, Multichoice, sued Safaricom and Jamii Telecom for allegedly enabling illegal access to premium sports content that Multichoice viewed as SuperSport channel content. The High Court had granted Safaricom an order to block 141 websites that were supposedly pirated from the pay-TV operator, Multichoice.

In November of last year, the High Court agreed with Multichoice’s position that Safaricom and Jamii Telecom were infringing on Multichoice’s copyright. To date, reports state that the Court of Appeal has granted Safaricom a win of the case by suspending last year’s orders which requested the telcos to disable access to the sites.

As reported by the media, appeal court judges Jamila Mohammed, Fatuma Sichale and Hannah Okwengu said, the current ruling is supported by the fact that Safaricom satisfied the conditions for granting an order of stay of execution under Rule 5(2)(b) of the Court Rules.

Safaricom had argued that Lady Justice Okwany of the High Court failed to consider if exceptional circumstances required granting the initial order. The telco continued to say; Multichoice had also failed to demonstrate that the copyright owners had been empowered to take enforcement actions on their behalf. Safaricom convinced the court that the appeal issues were severe and needed to be considered before the orders to block sites were issued.

Multichoice then argued that the order was temporary. Safaricom was willing to comply with the court order and even requested a virtual meeting with its lawyers to discuss the matter. The judges noted that both arguments were valid and that the development of the Copyright (Amendment Act) 2019 needed a frequent intervention of the courts by way of interpretation of the law.


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