Category Archives: Comedy and Intellectual Property

LAUGH OUT LOUD! COMEDY AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY.

“I dey laugh o!”

Does anybody remember who said that?

“I still dey laugh o”

Who said that?

Is it covered by copyright?

Is this a tagline?

Comedy is no longer a laughing matter as it is now big business.  In the early days there was Chief Chika Okpala, aka Chief Zebrudaya of the New Masquerade fame in the 80s. Then along came John Chukwu in the early 90’s.  Meanwhile, Gbenga Adeboye held sway in the comedy circuit from the 70s till he passed on. Some of the comedians we have are Basket Mouth, Patrick Doyle, Julius Agwu, Jedi, AY, Gandoki, Teju Baby Face, Mandy, Princess, Lepacious Bose, Seyi Law, Holy Mallam, Julius the Genius Agwu and Ali Baba. 

Landmarks Events…

The Opa Williams “A Night of a Thousand Laughs”…

The programme took a life of its own and the organisers excelled at brand extension by churning out a number of goods like Cds, T-Shirts and other souvenirs.

Then along came Atunyota Alleluya Akpophiohuobo Akpobomerere, better known as, King Ali Baba.

He is said to have practically rebranded the industry by giving it a new face and direction.

At the onset people were a bit conservative, but overtime, with television, travel, information technology and yes freedom of speech (democracy) the industry evolved very quickly.

In Nigeria comedians often neglect their intellectual property and its legal power and commercial potential to develop their unique images, fend off competition and maximise profits by commercialisation and extension of their brand identity.

Find below the legal regime for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights in Nigeria.

Copy Right Act, Cap. C 28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

Patents and Designs Act, Cap P2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; and

Trade Marks Act, Cap. T13 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

 

Is Comedy without Intellectual Property Protection and commercialization really a laughing matter?

Intellectual Property Registration and Enforcement Strategies:

The Nigerian Experience:

Innovative Jokes…

In other climes script writers pen the jokes that comedians perform.

Improvised routines?

One Liners?

 

Borrowing of Jokes/ Comedy Routines is not a laughing matter

More established comedians claim that they are getting fewer laughs when they perform because audience members have often already heard their jokes on the internet or from upcoming acts.

Intellectual Property for Borrowing…

The Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan released US$200 million as the Entertainment industry Fund. The Nigerian Entertainment Fund is being managed by Nigerian Export and Import Bank, NEXIM, which has since released guidelines for the operation of the Nigerian creative and entertainment Stimulation Loan Scheme.  According to the guidelines released         by        NEXIM, (http://neximbank.com.ng/CHECKLIST_Entertainment_Industry.pdf)

‘Applicant shall forward in addition to other requirements Collateral security / Intellectual Property Assets that are properly patented, trademarked, copyrighted, etc. to be pledged/assigned.

 

New Jokes in the house…

The experience in other climes:

 

Self help

 

Cease and desist letters

 

 

A Possible Paradigm shift

 

Basis for protection

While Nigerian Intellectual Property Right owners need to get smarter about the way they protect their I.P., there is still a foundation upon which the other strategies are built.

 

 

Which Wan Be This I.P. Sef?

Nigerian Comedians should show concern about infringement of their intellectual property, at the minimum they need to get up to date with IP and comedy.

 

            Conclusion

Registration of your intellectual property is the first step to properly managing I.P.

It is not about the form of expression versus the idea in the joke, it is a fine mix of both and it all depends on what angle you are looking from, in the end a mix of I.P. Registration, social normative systems, commercialisation of Intellectual Property  rights and Intellectual Property  asset management may hold the key to the growth of the comedy industry in Nigeria.


Olufola Wusu Esq.

copyright © 2012

Counsel with Megathos Law Practice

Okay that was a mouthful…

So lets get started…Does Comedy really need Intellectual Property?

Your thoughts anyone?

Legal Disclaimer

by Olufola Wusu Esq

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