Knowledge is power. Three words, no doubt, that you have heard before. Day by day it’s becoming more apparent that this statement is more than a cute Instagram caption or a motivation Monday quote. In an era where there is a growing culture of entrepreneurship, one can’t help but wonder how many people really know their rights; particularly creatives.
With so much access to information it is perhaps worrying how little is known about the business side of the creative industry. This seemingly random thought process was sparked by an interview last month on Not For The Radio (NFTR).
Newly dubbed Smoke Boys revealed their on going legal battle for the rights surrounding the name ‘Section Boyz’ They explained that the IPO of ‘Section Boyz’ was owned by someone else, causing an on-going legal battle with someone the group referred to being ‘close to home’. While the group owned the trademark for the name they decided to continue their music career under the new brand name ‘Smoke Boys’.
While this is undoubtedly a very unfortunate circumstance for any artist to find themselves in, the reality is perhaps for a sheer lack of awareness, this could have happened to anybody.
Consider the following:
- Do you know how to legally protect your ideas?
- Do you know who to contact if somebody is trying to plagiarise your work?
- Are you are of how your rights change depending on which country your work is distributed in?
If you could not confidently answer yes to all three questions, it might be time for you to take the steps to adequately equip yourself with the basic level knowledge you need to protect your art.
Where does one begin?
The first thing to ascertain is what rights you need to be aware of. Some of the most important include those surrounding, branding, royalties and intellectual property. This however is by no means an exhaustive list and of course gets more specific depending on your area of focus. The next step would be to figure out what procedures you need to follow in order to utilise these rights to protect your work. Sometimes protecting your work which requires you register your rights, which is likely to cost you.
While the fees are not always large sums of money, it may be wise to sit down and plan out your finances, asking yourself whether it is financially appropriate for you to take this next step.
There are plenty of free resources out there but the following are great places to start for a basic understanding:
Intellectual Property rights
More details: https://www.out-law.com/page-
An Introduction to Music Royalties in the UK – Ditto Musichttps://www.dittomusic.
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While the suggestions in this article are centred around the music industry, a lot of the information discussed is easily transferable to an array of other creative industries.
The views shared are best summarised by this quote from Benjamin Franklin.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” The information is out there, it’s time to take advantage of it.