By Simeon Mpamugoh
Izu Osuigwe is a lawyer with a bias for intellectual property preservative and property component ownership. For him, literary contents ownership is akin to when one takes money either through savings or bank loans to build a house or invest in intellectual property like movies, soaps, music and all manner of creative contents.
He told Daily Sun in an interview, “So, you use your money and resources to create such contents which become a property; something you own. One could use same money to buy either a car or house but the artiste has decided to use it to create content, it could be visual or audio which are all intellectual properties one uses money to create, a property to the creative.”
There is always the problem of copyright ownership, he hinted, “The fact is that one needs to know who is a producer. The main talents in production are: the cast, crew and the executive producer (EP). The executive producer raises money for financing the production. The producer tends to bring all the factors of production together and the director interprets the story: how it should be pushed out hence it is usually regarded as director’s film because he directs how he wants to shoot the movie and uses the cast and crew to achieve his aim.
“The content is owned by the actual person who raised the resources for the content. But there are sometimes cases when there is a scriptwriter. He tends to have residual ownership in the content and agrees with the EP on certain percentage from whatever sales made from the production. In this case, it is no longer the EP that owns the content alone. The scriptwriter now has a share to the extent of the percentage,” he said.
“In such scenarios, it is not only the EP that owns the production; other variables have come to play: the scriptwriters, cast and crew. And since these parties have stakes, at any time the film is going to be given to a third party with a platform by EP or it acquires the right to the content, the amount the platform is willing to pay, all the parties should be carried along. And it will no longer be a case of one person marketing the movie,” Osuigwe said, maintaining that where EP raised all the money and pays off every body, the content belonged to him.
How have we fared in the digital content distribution space? He said, “It is really an interesting time in the creative content distribution sector, because people are getting paid through all forms of the social media –Youtube; even Facebook is coming on board. Very soon, they would be scouting for contents either through direct payment or social advertisements of contents created and placed on their platform. So, the sector provides an exciting time for anyone who is creative, who can think well. There is no restriction: just think outside of the box, and things people would like to watch, there are places one can place them.”
Osuigwe, who is the Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), Media Contents Distributors Association (MCDAN), disclosed that contents were not only about the movie adding that there were lots of them out there such as music, naming ceremony, short stories of human interests etc. “What makes the difference is how it is structured,” he said.
He explained further, “A short story of a woman frying bean cake (Akara) in the streets; how she uses the money made from the akara to take care of her children, pay school fees and back to the place she is frying the bean cake would make interesting watch for television platforms who would want to buy it and if they don’t; take it to Youtube and once people watch, you make your money.”
“For me, digital content distribution is kind of liberalising the way social media has come in to assist artists. Before now, there were contents that were taken to television stations that were rejected but now, we have platforms such platforms can be placed and earn money.”
On content audit to gauge its effectiveness, Osuigwe said, “There are various ways contents can be gauged. This is not restricted only to films but also music and other literary forms of the arts. There are occasions where one hears children singing some genre of music; this automatically tells that the content is going places. Today, everybody uses Smartphone to push two to three minutes’ skits and it makes impacts. The content that would send the message might not be expensive.”