By Theresa Moses
LAGOS/Nigeria: The Nigerian creative industry is yet to tap into the treasures of its creativity and its contribution to the country’s GDP.
Mr Andrew Prodger, Chief Executive Officer of British Equity Collecting Society (BECS), stated this during an interactive session in Lagos with Nigerian stakeholders, as part of activities by Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) as a collecting society as they take an international move towards protecting actor’s right.
Prodger ‘s main purpose of visit was to assist Nigerian Actors get remuneration for their creativity and Intellectual property with the support of the Spanish CMO for actors. They are looking at helping Nigerian creative performers overcome its challenges in all ways possible an the importance of cooperation between producers and performers.
“The creative industry in Nigeria is being exploited and, as such, its treasures are yet to be tapped. Nigerians rely on you to tell its stories in order to promote its cultural values. The film industry – in terms of value – is bigger than the music industry. Let us start to build a network as creative performers, so we can struggle to lobby government for protection of our work, make a living from it and grow our cultural heritage.”
The BECS CEO, who has been working for 20 years in the creative industry and has travelled extensively round the world protecting creating works of performers, promised to support the Nigerian creative industry to get what they rightly deserved.
“We are here to share the experience we had elsewhere. All over the world creativity is being exploited. Reason is that creative people are always passionate to create contents. We have worked in Latin America for many years: where they were 10 years ago is where you are now.
“The creative industry is a very big industry. In the United Kingdom, the creative industry contributes 8 per cent of the GDP.
“There is currently a draft bill to be debated (by the National Assembly), and it will be seen to benefit the industry. It is the only way it will thrive. The solutions to the problem you face are found here.”
In line with the vision of Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) to protect the intellectual rights of actors, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) has keyed into the body to reap the fruits of their labour. Despite its interaction with the world body, AGN is now more determined to explore all avenues to ensure that its members are well remunerated for their creativity.
The president of AGN, Mr Emeka-Rollas Ejezie – who was represented at the meeting by former president Ejike Asiegbu – thanked the BECS boss for his intervention. Asiegbu, a veteran who has been in the industry for over four decades, also recalled his relationship with WIPO when he was president in 2004.
“The AGN President, Emeka-Rollas, who is unavoidably absent sent me to represent him. We appreciate your presence and the valuable and insightful advice on how we can move the industry forward. We want to use this medium to call on producers, directors, writers and actors to work together to achieve a common goal, by making sure the copyright bill is passed.”
In her speech on what they are doing as a collective management organisation for film makers/producers, Bunmi Fawole, General Manager, Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria, said the society is making remarkable progress and called for more support.
“I want to call on persons and organisations whose businesses and operations involve the commercial use of films – such as broadcasting stations, cable transmitting and re-transmitting companies, advertising agencies, hotels, restaurants and relaxation spots, etc – to obtain appropriate licence from AVRS, to help compensate and support the creative performers’ livelihood.”
Mr Prodger is also a representative of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), International Association for Performer’s right (majorly actors) all over the world (SCARP/AISGE).