• Sunday, June 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Managing talent in the entertainment industry, legally

How Jobberman is leveraging AI to bridge unemployment gap

Talent management has, over the years, played a crucial role in the development of the entertainment industry. Talent management and agenting include finding and nurturing talents, negotiating contracts, and managing careers. Strategic thinking, creativity, negotiation prowess, and in-depth entertainment business knowledge are all necessary for talent managers and agents in the industry. Talent managers and agents work together to help artists achieve their goals and manage their careers. However, talent management can be complex and challenging, hence the requirement for careful consideration of legal, ethical, and contractual factors. This article will explore the contractual and liability considerations for talent managers and agents in the Nigerian entertainment industry.

By establishing clear expectations and boundaries, talent managers and agents can build successful and ethical careers for their clients

Roles of talent managers and agents in talent management
As stated above, talent managers and agents play critical and crucial roles in talent management in the entertainment industry. Talent managers are responsible for overseeing the career development of artists, including negotiating contracts, coordinating events, and providing guidance on creative projects. The business concerns of entertainers, such as actors, musicians, writers, and athletes, are managed by talent managers.

Agents are tasked with the role of discovering and securing employment for musicians, actors, directors, writers, and other key players in the entertainment industry. Talent agents use their expert communication and negotiation skills to represent and secure employment for gifted individuals in the entertainment industry.

While the roles of talent managers and agents may overlap, they have distinct responsibilities and roles in the industry. Talent managers work closely with their clients to develop long-term career strategies, while agents are primarily focused on securing short-term employment opportunities. Collaboration and communication between talent managers and agents are essential to ensure their client’s career goals align with their contractual obligations.

Contractual considerations for talent management
Talent managers and agents are saddled with the responsibility of representing and advocating for their clients in the entertainment industry. Therefore, it is important for talent managers and agents to enter into clear and comprehensive contracts with their clients that outline the terms of their relationship and the services to be provided. Some key contractual considerations for talent managers and agents are:

1. Scope of Services: The contract should clearly define the scope of services that the talent manager or agent will provide, such as negotiating contracts, arranging auditions, and providing career guidance. It should also include any specific limitations on the services that will be provided.

2. Term/Duration of the Contract: The contract should specify the length of the agreement, whether it is for a specific period or until a specific project or goal is achieved.

3. Fees and Commission: The contract should outline the fees and commissions that the talent manager or agent will receive for their services. Typically, talent managers receive a percentage of their client’s earnings, while agents receive a commission for the deals they negotiate.

4. Exclusivity: The contract should specify whether the talent manager or agent will have exclusive representation rights for the client, or whether the client can seek representation from other talent managers or agents.

5. Termination: The contract should include provisions for terminating the agreement, including the circumstances under which either party can terminate the agreement and any notice requirements.

6. Intellectual Property: The contract should specify how the client’s intellectual property, such as their name, likeness, and creative works, will be managed and protected.

7. Indemnification: The contract should include indemnification clauses to protect both the talent manager or agent and the client from liability for any claims that arise out of the representation relationship.

8. Governing Law and Venue: The contract should specify the governing law and jurisdiction for any disputes that arise under the agreement.

9. Dispute Resolution Clause: The contract should stipulate the medium of addressing any disputes that arise during the pendency of the contract, whether by arbitration, mediation, negotiation, conciliation, or litigation. However, it is advisable to explore other dispute resolution mediums before litigation.

Read also: Phillip Consulting advocates talent management to curb brain drain

While bearing in mind these considerations, talent managers and agents should work with their clients to ensure that their contracts are clear and comprehensive, and protect the interests of both parties. They should also seek the expertise of contract lawyers to ensure that the contractual terms are well-drafted.

Liability considerations for talent managers and agents
Talent managers and agents in the entertainment industry in Nigeria can face various liability considerations, which are legal obligations or risks that they may be exposed to in their line of work. The liability considerations for talent managers and agents in the entertainment industry in Nigeria are highlighted below:

1. Contractual Liability: Talent managers and agents in Nigeria are typically bound by contracts with their clients, which can give rise to contractual liabilities in the event of a breach of the contract. For example, if a talent manager or agent fails to perform the services promised in the contract or violates any provisions of the agreement, they could be held liable for damages resulting from the breach.

2. Intellectual Property Liability: Talent managers and agents in Nigeria may also face intellectual property liability, particularly if they are involved in the creation or use of copyrighted works without proper authorization. For example, if a talent manager or agent uses a client’s copyrighted work without permission or violates a third party’s intellectual property rights, they could face legal action for infringement.

3. Employment Liability: Talent managers and agents in Nigeria who hire staff or employees can face employment liability if they fail to comply with Nigerian labour laws, such as minimum wage laws, or employee benefits. They may also face liability for workplace harassment or discrimination.

4. Tort Liability: Talent managers and agents in Nigeria can be held liable for torts such as negligence or defamation. For example, if a talent manager or agent makes false or damaging statements about a client or fails to provide adequate guidance or protection, they could be sued for defamation or negligence.

5. Regulatory Liability: Talent managers and agents in Nigeria must comply with various laws and regulations governing their activities, such as licensing requirements and tax laws. Failure to comply with these laws can result in regulatory liability, which could lead to fines, legal action or both.

6. Fiduciary Duty: This is an important duty, hence talent managers and agents have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients and to avoid conflicts of interest. Also, legal action could be taken against the manager or agent if this obligation is not met.

7. Data Management Liability: Personal information about entertainers may be gathered by an agent or manager, and such data should not be used for any illegal purpose or unauthorised purpose. Breach of this would lead to liability under Nigerian data protection regulations.

Inadequate adherence to the above-mentioned liability factors for talent managers and agents can, unavoidably, result in legal actions and, ultimately, liability for any party found to be at fault as determined by the court.

Read also: HR experts identify key trends in talent management

Conclusion
Managing talent in the entertainment industry requires careful attention to contractual and liability considerations for agents and talent managers. By establishing clear expectations and boundaries, using written agreements, complying with industry regulations, maintaining transparency and accountability, and prioritising the well-being of clients, talent managers and agents can build successful and ethical careers for their clients. The entertainment industry is highly competitive, and it is essential for talent managers and agents to navigate legal and contractual issues effectively, through prompt engagement of lawyers, to maximise the potential for success.

By following best practices for ethical talent management, talent managers and agents can create positive, lasting relationships with their clients, while mitigating the risks associated with the complex legal and regulatory landscape of the entertainment industry. Ultimately, ethical talent management practices benefit not only the clients and their representatives, but also the industry as a whole, by promoting fairness, transparency, and accountability in an environment that is often characterised by intense competition and high stakes.

Christian Aniukwu is the Managing Partner at Stren & Blan Partners, and heads the Firm’s Intellectual Property (IP) Prosecutions and Commercial Services Practice Groups while Stanley Umezuruike is an Associate in the Dispute Resolution Department of the firm, with a specialty in Intellectual property, Entertainment and Technology law-related matters.

FIRM’S BIO
Stren & Blan Partners is a full-service commercial Law Firm that provides legal services to diverse local and international Clientele. The Business Counsel is a weekly column by Stren & Blan Partners dedicated to providing thought leadership insight on business and legal matters.
Connect with Stren & Blan Partners:
Website: www.strenandblan.com
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/strenandblan
Twitter: twitter.com/Strenandblan
Instagram: instagram.com/strenandblan