Nigerian entertainment lawyer, Oyinkansola Fawehinmi, popularly known as Foza Doza was on the Big Conversation to shed some light on the issues surrounding Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law with the Culture Squad.
Coming from a place of experience, from working with artistes like Kizz Daniel and labels like Aristokrat Records, the former home of Nigerian superstar Burna Boy, she shared some information on her journey to becoming an Entertainment and Intellectual Property Lawyer and the reason for making it a focus especially with regard to the African continent. She spoke on her role in informing decisions to enact reforms in policy, including the copyright act of Nigeria, Publishing amongst others. She highlighted these to stress on the importance of having systems in place to ensure that all stakeholders involved in the creative space can make a living off their work and for the business aspect of music to be taken as seriously as the making of it.
According to her, there is a lack of numbers in the field of Entertainment Law due to an inability to think outside the box especially coming into an industry that does not operate on pre-established structures, influencing the decisions of numerous lawyers to seek careers in other fields which are already established and avail an easier path towards making a career and a living for oneself.
She also revealed with regard to the landscape of artiste revenue, that the continent is still functioning below its revenue potential in entertainment because of the foundation of the industry not having the capacity to bring in the needed investment and returns expected. According to her, the African industry needs financing for development in the form of grants, residency programs, art centers amongst others as a catalyst for growth to build proper foundations which can later be furthered by private investors. However, the inflow of these investments have dwindled post COVID on the basis of the poor performance seen from the data on streaming numbers from the continent.
This issue highlights some of the fundamental problems which have hindered the industry from functioning the way it should, once again pointing towards the need for certain key institutions like CMOs (Collective Management Organizations), in the case of Ghana, GHAMRO, to function to the best of their abilities and be in tune with the times - acclimatizing to the rapid technological changes and investing in setting up systems that enable Publishing which is the cradle of the industry to work the way it is meant to.
In their capacity as the organizations responsible for artistes’ representation in areas of copyright and other related rights, they serve as a sort of “health insurance” for creatives and should be able to allot funds towards acquiring programs and software capable of tracking data on use of intellectual property to secure the futures of creatives. However, according to her, most CMOs in Africa still operate manually making it difficult to do the job in its fullest capacity owing to the tasking nature of data collection and the cost involved in the acquisition of the programs capable of doing the task. Additionally, there is the need for the utilization and creation of more platforms like MBA for Africa which provides education for music business executives to identify roles within the business aspect of music and to be properly positioned to serve as catalysts for growth within the industry.
Speaking on the rise of AI in music, she called for the need of African artistes to pay attention to Trademarks, copyright systems and how they work globally and the need to protect their voice. She mentioned the need to take into consideration the nuances of the global and local markets, forecasting or projecting into the future with emerging global trends while tying them into the realities of the local market to inform decision making with regard to business and marketing of the music.
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