Whenever one remarks that ‘People perish for lack of knowledge’ most of us scoff at them. Perhaps because we are unaware of what this truly means. The casual manner in which creatives handle themselves is marred with ignorance. Ignorance of the law and ignorance of relevant business practices to grow their innovations and build their brands. Why are creatives some of the biggest culprits when it comes to burying their heads in the sand? Is it fear?Desperation perhaps?
Ignorance may be bliss as some say, but is a costly bliss. The shelf life of intellectual property is like that of a banana; today it is a hot commodity and the next it is as stale as last month’s bread. I want to share an observation I have made overtime when it come to creatives. This may come off as a narrative but bear with me, there is a point that I want to make.
Why does the promise of money override your long term interests? I once met a client who came to me for fire extinguishing services. Yes, that is what I call it when a client comes to me after they have been ‘screwed over’ in a contract because they had not adequately read and understood the terms and their obligations. Excuse my french.
Upon interrogating this client as to why they never read the contract, they said that the deal was sweet and because the other party was a recognized brand they went ahead and signed on presentation of the contract. They did not even bother to take some time and read through the document and ensure the contract was a well balanced one. Sad to report, this contract was one sided. So one sided that it was painful to tell them they had no recourse really save for litigation, because they put a signature on it. All the liabilities and responsibilities lied on this client expect for the obvious: the consideration that was being offered by the other party.
From a legal perspective, it was rather funny to see one blissfully compromise their legal and intellectual property rights in such an ignorant manner. On further interrogation I asked whether they have other contracts in effect and whether they were treated in a similar fashion. Their response, a smile with beaming confidence praising how that system is working. I thought to myself, if it was working you would not be in my office seeking my ‘fire extinguishing services’.
This is just a minor example of the ignorance displayed by creatives. It is important to be abreast of all legal issues as well as business practices to build a self-sustaining business or brand. Some clients get lucky and some end up losing everything. And with such a short shelf life of IP, by the time one moves for litigation and awaits completion, their IP is already expired and they are counting their losses.
Be knowledgeable and keen. Shun ignorance. This is the second worst ailment in the creative industry that opens up the industry players to being taken advantage of. Know your rights! Ignorance is not and shall never be a defence. The more ignorance is displayed by creatives the more delicious and appealing they become to be devoured by corporate sharks.
Let us put an end to this, shall we? Unless you enjoy being corporate shark bait.