The works eligible for copyright in Kenya are provided for in the Copyright Act 2001. These are

  1. Literary works;
  2. Musical works; 
  3. Artistic works; 
  4. Audio-visual works; 
  5. Sound recordings;
  6. Broadcasts.
  7. Literary works

Literary works refer to any of the following or works similar to:

  1. Novels, stories and poetic works; 
  2. Plays, stage directions, film sceneries and broadcasting scripts; 
  3. Textbooks, treatises, histories, biographies, essays and articles; 
  4. Encyclopedias and dictionaries; 
  5. Letters, reports and memoranda; 
  6. Lectures, addresses and sermons;
  7. Charts and tables; 
  8. Computer programs; and
  9. Tables and compilations of data including tables and compilations of data stored and embodied in a computer or a medium used in conjunction with a computer; but does not include a written law or a judicial decision.
  1. Musical works

The Copyright Act, 2001 defines musical works as any musical work, irrespective of musical quality, and includes works composed for musical accompaniment.

  1. Artistic works

Artistic work refers to:

  1. Paintings, drawings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, engravings and prints;
  2. Maps, plans and diagrams;
  3.  Works of sculpture; 
  4. Photographs not comprised in audio-visual works;
  5. Works of architecture in the form of buildings or models; and 
  6. Works of artistic craftsmanship, pictorial woven tissues and articles of applied handicraft and industrial art.
  1. Audio-visual works

Audio-visual works refer to any fixation in any physical medium of images, either synchronized with or without sound, from which a moving picture may by any means be reproduced and includes videotapes and videogames but does not include a broadcast.

  1. Sound recordings

The Copyright Act, 2001 defines sound recording as any exclusively aural fixation of the sounds of a performance or of other sounds, or of a representation of sounds, regardless of the method by which the sounds are fixed or the medium in which the sounds are embodied but does not include a fixation of sounds and images, such as the sound track of an audio-visual work.

  1. Broadcasts

A broadcast is the transmission, by wire or wireless means, of sounds or images or both or the representations thereof, in such a manner as to cause such images or sounds to be received by the public and includes transmission by satellite.

 It is important to note the following

  1. A  broadcast is not be eligible for copyright until it has been broadcasted
  2. A literary, musical or artistic work is not be eligible for copyright unless sufficient effort has been expended on making the work to give it an original character; and the work has been written down, recorded or otherwise reduced to material form. 
  3. A work is not be ineligible for copyright by reason only that the making of the work, or the doing of any act in relation to the work, involved an infringement of copyright in some other work.


Copyright Act, 2001. Chapter 130 Laws of Kenya