The Kenyan creative industry is often seen as a swamp of frustrated artists with a cash strap that makes it hard to produce quality content. The troubles of artists in Kenya were seen when music artists showed screenshots of them receiving as little as Kshs 2,500 as royalties for their content for 2 months. Things are not better in the Film Industry where a lot of local content is often stifled – for better or worse by the Kenya Film Classification Board. What this means is that being a Director or Actor or Musician or Producer in Kenya is akin to walking through the Sinai Desert, a lot of effort but little in the way of financial rewards.
Nonetheless, it is not all doom and gloom as Kenyan creatives still overcome the odds and produce good quality content and some such as Lupita Nyongó and Eddy Gathegi go on to rise to stardom at an international level. Furthermore, the Kenyan creative industry also produces quality TV programs and movies as evidenced by shows like Maria on Citizen TV and films like Nairobi Half Life that have managed to woo audiences and impress critics alike.
Besides mainstream entertainment, some Kenyans like Elsa Majimbo have garnered continental fame by producing short comedic skits popularly known as vines through Youtube, a popular digital content sharing platform. This means that despite the challenges the creative and entertainment industry is growing and continues to develop beyond the traditional forms of entertainment. As more and more Kenyans move away from traditional TV and Radio entertainment and turn to platforms like YouTube and Tiktok for entertainment, local creatives who utilize their influence to make profits will be very successful.
However, the journey of a creative is not best walked alone. Creatives can use the law to help them enjoy these opportunities to the maximum. There are several ways in which some legal advice can benefit a creative.
Contract Review – Making Sure You Get What You Deserve!
Artists who are good in their craft often get good deals knocking at their doors. Whether its companies trying to advertise on your YouTube channel or multinationals trying to use them as brand ambassadors. These deals will come knocking and you need someone to take care of your interests when they do. It is very common to hear stories of previously successful artists who have gone bankrupt or who were swindled by their clients due to poor management and a lack of legal advice.
Even if you don’t have the choice of getting a lawyer to prepare the contract, it’s a good idea to have one to review it. You don’t need to have a lawyer on retainer, but it’s nice to have someone you can call who can do a quick contract review. You don’t want to be searching for a lawyer for the first time when signing a contract with a huge multinational.
Protecting your Intellectual Property Rights
Often artists need to protect the content they produce online. If they don’t then they always run the risk of someone else copying it without their permission. Unscrupulous people can take artists’ videos, art, designs, or photos and post them on their social media channels or web pages. This is something that you as an artist need to monitor because you need to defend your trademark or copyright or you can lose the right to assert it when the material becomes part of the public domain. In case of a persistent infringement of your copyright then you need a lawyer at hand to draft a demand letter and if necessary institute a suit on your behalf.
Fighting Online Attacks – the Legal Way.
It is common knowledge that no one is more slandered than a person in the public limelight which includes actors, musicians, viners, directors and producers. Artists can be involved in slander and libel on social media and therefore have to be very careful. Be aware that anything can be posted about you and the things you post can be accessed by many people. These comments can be considered slander or libel. Artists can use a lawyer to draft a demand letter – essentially saying stop doing what you’re doing and if necessary sue those who slander them online.