Lite Notes

How The Law Shields Creatives

How The Law Shields Creatives

Intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term for various legal entitlements which attach to certain names, written and recorded media and inventions. The word IP refers to creation of the mind and expression: inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names and images used in commerce.

IP Commercialization is the ability to protect and develop intellectual property (IP) towards economic and social prosperity. It is a core competency for economies, innovators, and enterprises around the world. 

Below are the relevant governing laws applicable to the creative industry in Nigeria 
  • Trademark – Trademarks Act 1965
  • Patent – Design and Patent Act 1970
  • Industrial Design – Design and Patent Act 1970
  • Copyright – Nigerian Copyright Act (Amended) 1999
Why is it important to protect intellectual property rights?

Your IP rights are important because they can:

  • Set your business apart from competitors.
  • Be sold or licensed, providing an important revenue stream.
  • Offer customers something new and different.
  • Form an essential part of your marketing or branding.
  • Be used as security for loans.
To exploit your IP fully, it makes strong business sense to do all you can to secure it. You can:
  • Protect it against infringement by others and ultimately defend in the courts your sole right to use, make, sell or import it
  • Stop others using, making, selling or importing it without your permission
  • Earn royalties by licensing it
  • Exploit it through strategic alliances
  • Make money by selling it.
The commercial aspects of intellectual property are usually referred to as the non-traditional aspects of IP, the non exhaustive list includes:
  • Licensing
  • Franchising
  • IP Securitization
  • Assignment

One of the ways the law assists the protection and commercialization of Intellectual Property is by collecting royalties on the creative’s works. This can also be done by issuing licenses to the intending licensee to use for a particular duration and other specific parameters for use will be included. Once a document is drawn up to cover the interest of both parties and it carries a contractual obligation, it becomes legally recognized and binding on both parties.  In the creative industry, there are many forms of licenses which assist creative in commercializing their works. It is important to engage the services of a lawyer to fully utilize the use of these licenses.  

Also, the rise of Nigeria’s creative industry over the past decade has been phenomenal. Nollywood for instance annually produces more films than Hollywood, and the sector is estimated to be worth over £2 billion.

Similarly, Nigeria’s music business is growing rapidly, and gaining worldwide attention along the way. Record sales have more than tripled in half a decade (it’s reported that over 550 albums are produced each year), and stakeholders have projected the industry’s worth to be £4 billion as at 2019.

In a country where Entertainment Law (law that deals with media of all types i.e. TV, film, music, publishing, advertising, internet and news media, etc.) is thriving as a result of rapid influx of creative rights owners, the place of entertainment lawyers being wardens of the law cannot be undermined. As a creative industry player, you should engage the services of a lawyer in other to fully utilize all necessary tools made available by law to assist commercialization. With 7 – 10 million youth looking for jobs every day, all opportunities should be seized. Africa’s creative economy can trigger a value chain between artists, entrepreneurs, distributors and support services across multiple sectors to provide modern jobs just by understanding how the law assists the commercialization of creative works.

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March 16th, 2021

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