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Universities Banned From Using Students’ Photos on their Websites

A High Court in Machakos has prohibited universities and other institutions of higher learning from using photographs of their students to market their academic activities.

According to the court, using photographs without their consent was illegal and was in violation and infringement of their rights.

This was delivered through a ruling issued by Justice M.W. Muigai on Tuesday the 16th of August, 2022.

The petitioner, Justice Muigai said that a university should regard a student as a private person and therefore necessitating the need to obtain his or her consent.

The ruling stated, “That the respondents should have known that the petitioner is a private person and thus sought her consent.

“The petitioner’s fundamental right to privacy and human dignity under Articles 28 and 31 of the Constitution of Kenya was violated by publishing her image for purposes of commercial without giving her consent,” said Justice Muigai.

In the ruling Justice referred to various academic works as well as court precedents established in jurisdictions other than Kenya.

The High Court stated unequivocally that the use of students’ photographs amounted to advertising and promotion.

“That her intellectual property rights, right of publicity and personal rights, were infringed when the respondent decided to publish her image in advancing and marketing of computer packages course offered for financial gain without seeking her consent.”

The decision follows the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) issued a warning to Kenyans over the use of memes for commercial purposes.

While referring to copyright laws and restrictions, KECOBO said that adapting, reproducing, publishing and broadcasting comedians’ work without their permission is an infringement of the Copyright rule.

“While the use of memes in social media is tolerated, its creation and use for commercial purposes can attract significant civil liability and must be cleared from the author,” read KECOBO’s letter in part.

The warning was issued following the trending video of two comedians Arap Marindich and Tula Chemoget went viral online for impersonating the World Championship drivers at the Safari Rally in Naivasha in Nakuru County in June.

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