POWOJuly: Creative Writers Online know your Laws

As more and more Kenyans go online and as Creative Writers embrace social media as a platform for their writing, the need to be aware of the treacherous side of the Internet is necessary.

There are more benefits than vulnerabilities for a young creative writer having a blog in their quest to; publish, get feedback, grow in writing and share. However, it is also important for every Creative writer to know that, whatever they write is their creation and thus needs to be protected and acknowledged by anyone who comes across it.

For a long time, Creative Writers and even Bloggers in general have been affected by plagiarism; this is when someone copies part of or the whole article/post/story/poem that was your original creation and uses it without 1) Acknowledging you and 2) Seeking consent to copy and use it elsewhere.

One of our guest speakers, (Thinker’s Room), who also happens to be among the first bloggers in Kenya has been a victim of Plagiarism. This brought to light the issue of, what laws are in place to protect bloggers? How does a blogger approach the party that has plagiarised their work (through a lawyer or settle out of court), what happens when the party that copied a bloggers work uses it and makes money out of it? To bring this closer home. What should a creative writer who has posted their poems on their blog do when he discovers that his works are appearing in a publication by a publishing house that he has never contacted?

This last scenario did happen to various Kenyan Poets including myself.

Creative writers need to know what legal recourse they can seek when faced with copyright infringement or plagiarism. There is also a need to know the measures to put in place to ensure that one is covered legally online e.g. Indicating that copyrights to a story or poem are reserved or use of creative commons widgets.

POWO July seeks to provide a forum where Creative Writers can get to learn all the legal terms, differentiate them, ask questions, seek free legal counsel as well as discuss with other writers.

We have invited 3 Lawyers; Collins Mbalo who is also a blogger at Nairobian PerspectiveSarah Amoit, an advocate at the High Court and Karimi Wandiri who is also a band member and an event organiser behind the Kinanda Festival monthly events.

The forum will be a panel discussion with as much involvement with the audience as possible.

We will also be joined by one of Nairobi’s sterling female poets, Ngwatilo Mawiyoo who recently performed at the Harare International Festival in Zimbabwe as well as at the Poetry Africa Festival in South Africa. She is currently pursuing the fusion of Poetry and Music through her Puesic Project.

Join us on 16th July at the iHub from 11am. To sign up, visit powojuly.eventbrite.com.

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