Entertainment law, also referred to as media law is legal services provided to the entertainment industry. These services in entertainment law overlap with intellectual property law. Intellectual property has many moving parts that include trademarks, copyright, and the “Right of Publicity”[1].

Nigeria is richly endowed with creative talents. So far, there is increase reward for creativity in different dimension especially the entertainment industry. Hence, the need for us to examine the roles of lawyers in the entertainment industry.

There are specific functions in the industry that require the expertise of a legal practitioner viz:

  1. Contractual adviser to clients.
  2. Drafting and negotiating development and production contracts.
  3. Facilitating and negotiating distribution deals for an entertainment project.
  4. Working on financing agreements for sponsorship, bank loans, co-production investments, grants, and other types of investments.
  5. Preparing form agreements for clients, such as appearance releases, location releases, and licence agreements.
  6. Reviewing contracts and other legal documents to analyse right issues or other business or legal questions.
  7. Reviewing and commenting on pitches and budgets for television series, films, mobile apps or other entertainment projects.
  8. Resolving contract disputes through alternative dispute resolution (Mediation, conciliation or arbitration).
  9. Ensure the client is in compliance with the regulatory agencies in the field they operate.
  10. Institute an action in court for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, breach of contract and other related matters.
  11. Attend meetings on behalf of the client where necessary.
  12. Assist the client with real estate deals e.g carrying out due diligence on a proposed property to ensure the property is free from encumbrances.

Challenges

  1. The creator of work makes little or no cash compared to the amount invested in the project whereas some person in the popular Alaba International Market makes good money from selling a thousand(s) of pirated copies.
  2. Contracts drafted to exploit upcoming artist in the industry. (Those signed by parties when they are hungry for fame and have little or no cash.)
  3. Lack of access to financing of the entertainment industry has been a major drawback for the industry.
  4. The Inadequacies and lack of enforcement of laws governing intellectual property and entertainment law in Nigeria also affect the activities of the industry.

In conclusion, the need to adhere and enforce the laws governing this industry cannot be sidelined considering the lucrative and vibrant possibilities it poses to this generation and generations to come.

I hereby recommend that awareness campaigns should be held frequently to promote and create awareness on the importance of intellectual property, players in the entertainment industry need to come to terms with the fact that the role of a legal practitioner in the entertainment industry is pivotal at every stage (from the initiation of the contract to the conclusion), More effective enforcement procedures should be put in place to curb the menace of piracy and counterfeiting in the industry.

Written by Yemisi Ologunagba Esq.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entertainment_law