Memes usually convey different messages and carry on trends that sometimes businesses use to engage with their audiences online.
But businesses in Kenya might face legal repercussions after the Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo) warned corporate firms against using memes to promote their businesses, arguing that it is an infringement of copyright laws.
The Kecobo was related to a popular meme on social media showing two Kenyan comedians named Arap Marandich and Tula sitting in a race car with their faces filled with dust and helmets on their heads.
According to the copyright board, a meme generated without the authorization owner is an infringement of their copyright. The rights to reproduce, copy, adapt and publish since the original photograph or video undergoes some alteration and incorporation of text.
James Onen aka Fatboy opined that people having humorous pictures circulating on social media may not take action against it used as a meme. “If you are a company and you want to promote your band using a meme, the owner could be right to sue for using their image without permission.”
Olive Najjuma said if Nigerian actors Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme, commonly known as Aki and Pawpaw considered the circulation of pictures turned into memes, they would have to sue a lot of companies if they decided to.
She agreed that corporate firms should pay people for their pictures if used for business purposes.
“I think that is fair because if you are a business using someone’s picture, the least you can do is pay them,” Olive advised.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, and Sarah every weekday from 6 am to 10 am on RX Radio.