AMID widespread adoption of digital technology and the ease of sharing and reproducing creative works, artists across various mediums have encountered numerous challenges related to the protection of their intellectual property.
Intellectual property expert Nyasha Chiota, who is a legal associate at V Nyemba and Associates, said artists faced a lot of challenges due to lack of intellectual property rights knowledge.
“Intellectual property rights knowledge is crucial for artists to safeguard their creative output, receive proper recognition for their work, and ensure fair compensation for their efforts,” Chiota said.
“One of the major challenges artists face when they are unaware of intellectual property rights is the risk of their work being improperly attributed or not acknowledged at all. Artistic creations are often shared extensively online without the artist’s consent or proper credit.
“Due to this lack of recognition, artists may struggle to establish a name for themselves and find it difficult to build a reputation and secure future opportunities. Without appropriate attribution, the artist’s ability to attract potential clients, secure commissions, or receive invitations for exhibitions and collaborations may suffer.”
The lawyer said another significant challenge faced by artists unaware of intellectual property rights was rampant copyright infringement.
“In the digital age, unauthorised duplication, distribution and reproduction of artistic works have become alarmingly common. Many artists find their images, music or written content illegally copied, shared, and even sold without their consent or receiving any compensation,” she noted.
“This undermines the artist’s ability to monetise their creations and deprives them of the economic benefits that should rightfully flow from their work. Artists who lack knowledge regarding intellectual property rights often find themselves in a vulnerable position regarding the control and use of their own artistic expressions.”
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She added: “Without adequate understanding, artists may inadvertently sign contracts or agreements that grant excessive rights to others, relinquishing control and ownership of their work.
“Moreover, they may not be aware of options such as licensing or choosing specific terms and conditions for the usage of their creations. This lack of control can lead to exploitation and the loss of opportunities to leverage on their artistic output for personal and professional growth.”
Chiota said being conversant with intellectual property rights was vital for artists to be able to determine fair compensation for the use of their work.
“Without proper knowledge, artists may struggle to negotiate appropriate fees and royalties, especially when licensing their work for commercial purposes or collaborating with other artists or organisations,” she noted.
“This lack of understanding can lead to undervaluing their work, accepting unfavourable contracts, and missing out on substantial financial opportunities. To overcome these challenges, it is paramount for artists to be educated about intellectual property rights.”
She said by gaining a comprehensive understanding of copyright laws, trademark laws, and other relevant regulations, artists could take proactive steps to protect their creative output.
“Artists face significant challenges due to a lack of intellectual property rights knowledge. The lack of recognition, copyright infringement, limited control over artistic expression, and difficulty in evaluating fair compensation all pose obstacles in their creative careers,” she noted.
“Learning how to properly register their work, adding copyright notice to their art, and employing various strategies to deter infringement and ensure proper attribution can protect their creations.”
“By becoming well-informed about intellectual property rights, artists can secure their creative ownership, protect their work, and establish themselves in a complex and evolving artistic landscape.”