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Legal representation vital in entertainment industry

04 Jun 2023

The music industry is a cut-throat world and therefore important for entertaining performers to have legal representation owing to many cases of copyright infringements and contract disputes.

In an interview after the just ended Music Industry Summit, organised by Botswana- EU Policy Dialogue, Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture together with National Arts Council of Botswana,

South African entertainment attorney, Bongani Mdakane of Mdakane Attorneys said having an entertainment lawyer presented benefits for artistes who would be able to interpret and explain contracts put before them.

“It is extremely important to have an entertainment lawyer or copyright specialist, because we are able to understand the copyrights at play, the way revenue flows and everything around the sector and able to then explain it to our artistes,” he said.

He added that having legal representation would also help artistes to protect their brands, know and understand their intellectual property, have right relationships with their managers, clear samples as well as close out deals.

Mdakane added that essentially, a music lawyer was important for every musician as part of the team in order to advise them on legal issues and assist in guiding the business aspects of their career.

He also explained that copyright and entertainment laws tended to be uniform because of the treaties signed by countries and therefore advised artistes to keep their contracts, even if it was not drawn by a lawyer.

“I advise artistes to keep their records, with contracts obviously being the first price.

Always reduce anything you get yourself into to writing, lay down any agreement on paper such as percentages agreed upon, frequency of payments to be done so that they have an assemblage of the agreement.

Most disputes come from collaborations and artistes need to always sign,” he said.

On one hand, he said collecting societies were often faced with disputes from collaborators and therefore artistes should always agree on a spreadsheet, which he explained was available free from the website.

“It is a simple and powerful spreadsheet that artistes use to write down every information regarding the song, their names and the respective percentages they agree on,” Mdakane said.

He cited the case of Jerusalem hit by Master KG and Nomcebo, in which the latter threatened legal action claiming that they were not paid for the song that became a global hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Music Industry Summit was held to identify shortfalls that restricted the growth and identify approaches that would enable Botswana Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) sector to commercialise.ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Ketshepile More

Location : GABORONE

Event : Interview

Date : 04 Jun 2023