Personal Finance

How to use copyright in management of talent

copyright

Kenya is set to review her intellectual property laws, through the Intellectual Property Bill 2020. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • As a creative, find out which collective management organisation (CMO) is best suited to your works.
  • Singers, for example, had the Music Copyright Society of Kenya.
  • A CMO is a society formed under the statute to collect royalties and enforce other intellectual property rights of members as applicable.

The creative sector in Kenya has the potential to earn the government a lot of revenue in taxes. According to statistics, the creative sector contributes about five per cent of the gross domestic product.

The creative sector includes art, fashion, music, film, performing arts, books, software, gaming, television, radio and advertising. It is, therefore, critical for creatives to understand how best to manage their talent and works to reap maximum benefit.

The first thing anyone in the creative sector ought to understand is the extent of intellectual property rights protection in their work. Whether a writer, a singer, a gamer or a radio show host. Understanding their intellectual property rights is very integral to exploiting their work for maximum benefit.

Protection

Most of the work in the creative sector is protectable as copyright. Copyright is that type of intellectual property right that protects creations of the mind. Copyright protects how work is expressed. It does not extend to the protection of ideas.

In this article, I highlight intellectual property strategy as a talent management tool. Most creatives earn a lot of money from their works, including their talent. How do they make money from their talents?

The first is to understand that your copyright falls into various sub-classes, including literary, visual, audio-visual and computer programmes, among others. You will need to classify the type of copyright. A book, for example, is a literary work while a video would fall under audio-visual.

Each sub-class extends copyright protection for several years.

Copyright gives the owner two broad rights. Understanding these is essential to managing your talent. Some rights granted to the owner of copyright include the controlling sales, exploitation, distribution and reproduction of the works. What this means is that third parties cannot, for example, make copies of your works to distribute without your consent. Such consent can be granted in exchange for money known as royalties.

As a creative, you need an exploitation strategy. Some of the considerations in the exploitation strategy include whether to sell or license your work. As an artist, for example, you may opt to sell your painting entirely or choose to license it out to an entertainment facility. They will be allowed to display it for a certain monthly fee (royalty).

A creative needs a team of professionals to effectively manage one and the talent. You will need an agency, a manager who may double up as your public relations representative. A lawyer will assist you in protecting your talent, enforcement against infringement and commercialisation.

As a creative, find out which collective management organisation (CMO) is best suited to your works. Singers, for example, had the Music Copyright Society of Kenya. A CMO is a society formed under the statute to collect royalties and enforce other intellectual property rights of members as applicable.

As a creative, it is not enough to only protect your works. You will need to enforce against any infringement through the various enforcement mechanisms available. A good intellectual property rights lawyer should assist with enforcement.

As a creative, find out the best way to distribute your works.

Fortunately, there are many digital platforms through which your works can reach the audience.

An e-book, for example, can be sold digitally via Amazon. You will need to use digital rights management software to protect your work.