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D’Talkshop And The Entertainment Industry

By Olaide Adetunji

The Nigerian entertainment industry, particularly the movie industry popularly termed Nollywood, has received great attention from within and outside the country.

The potentials of the entertainment industry for social and economic development are however currently largely under-tapped partly because the existing structures for the industry are weak, underdeveloped and unable to carry the industry to the next level and also because the government has not made a strong commitment to implementing fiscal and regulatory policies necessary to grow the industry.

While analysts put the movie industry's annual revenue at an average of $250 million, with the music industry pulling in about half of that figure annually, other segments of the industry such as comedy, sports, fashion design, etc, are also growing although not yet at the pace with the movie and music industry. As proofs of the talents available in Nigeria, the country has produced the global winners for the British Council's International Young Design Entrepreneur and Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 and 2007, respectively.

Sadly, the entertainment industry still lacks structure in the form of professionals, who should shape and grow the business of entertainment. The accountants, PR and marketing professionals, lawyers and other professionals who would give the industry the structure it needs to tap into its great potential(s) are absent from the scene or lack knowledge about the industry's potentials. A lot of times, the industry practitioners go to the deal table without their lawyers and other relevant professionals who should help them structure the deal, and months down the line find themselves in bitter feuds over the terms of their “gentleman's agreements.”

Recognising the need for lawyers and other professionals to take an active participatory role in structuring the industry and contributing to the development of a viable structure to promote and sustain the growth of a viable entertainment industry, D'talkshop organised a seminar Wetin Lawyers Dey Do…Sef For Entertainment Industry' in Lagos, Nigeria. The event was attended by the entertainment practitioners and lawyers who were interested in learning, participating, and improving their participation in the industry.

The lectures covered broad topics such as understanding contracts, identifying and protecting intellectual property rights, financing options, and lessons learned from the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Two lawyers with extensive experience in the entertainment industry, Richard Moxon (Lyons Davenport, UK) and Guy MacLeod (Irish Ashman, South Africa) were on hand to share their experiences as lawyers in their local industries. There were other resource persons drawn from the legal profession and the world of business and finance.