The holidays are over and we are back to the rat race. This past holiday, I cuddled up on my couch and enjoyed a medley of movies. I enjoyed myself by watching the latest movies as well as previous hit movies.
When Dream Girls hit the silver screens in 2006, I was quite the novice and unsure of my path in the legal space, so for me it was just another hit musical flick. When I watched it again on New Year’s Eve, I opened my eyes to the lessons the movie had in store for us who love all things music and entertainment.
Just like the movie, the music business is a cut throat one. It is a game of survival for the fittest or the wittiest. For example when the song ‘Cadillac’ was ‘stolen’ by another performer. I use the term ‘stole’ loosely to mean infringement of copyright. C.C, the composer wanted to fight for his rights but because of lack of money he gave up.
One of the key practices in excising one’s intellectual property rights is by legal action. It can be by way of going to court what we call litigation or by way of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Contrary to a majority’s belief legal services relating to intellectual property services are quite affordable.
To enforce your rights you must make noise and complain where your rights have been infringed upon. Entertainment is still an informal sector in Kenya and much of Eastern Africa but it has room to grow. If we want it to grow as an industry you must assert your presence and your brand by enforcing your rights.
Once upon a time, a popular Kenyan song was ‘stolen’ and crossed the borders to the Southern side of the continent. I stand to be corrected, but I believe the copyright holder did not enforce his rights and let the case be a by gone. How unfortunate. Had he done so, his brand would have been a force to reckon with especially in the continental entertainment sphere.
The movie had so many other aspects on the industry which I could go on and on about. In a nutshell; you do not want to ruin your career with drugs because it is cool. If it was cool, it would not kill you or your career. If you are in the music business, making hits is a team effort. Engage other experts to grow your brand. It is not a one man show. It is time that we consider having Board of Advisers in our entertainment entities. I cannot stop emphasize this, when you go into a business venture, protect your rights by signing an agreement. A gentleman’s agreement is one headache you do not want this new year.
Intellectual property is still a green area in Kenya and Eastern Africa generally, especially in matters around entertainment law. We rely heavily on business practices to deal with legal claims. However, the emergence of legal expertise is growing. It is also affordable. But unless you engage, you will never know.
2014 is your year to enforce your intellectual property rights. Stand up and be counted. Some will lie to you that it shall be detrimental to your career. A white lie that is.
Enforce your rights and see what is shall do for your career.
Happy New Year! Here is to a wonderful year of Intellectual Property Rights enforcement.