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And the award for WORST ailment in the creative industry goes to…Hobby-ism!

I just made up a word! Well, I am not sure there is a word that can explain the disdain I have for this habit that a majority of creatives have. Hobby-ism! This to me is the worst ailment of them all that I have highlighted throughout this blog.

Now, if you are in the creative business for fun, please stop! You are ruining it for the rest. Success calls for consistency and seriousness. One hit wonders and appearances should not have a place in this industry. This is what contributes to the notion that the creative industry is simply a pass time.

I have heard of creatives, whether in film, music, photography, literature and so on have their rights infringed upon. But instead of taking action and asserting their rights, what do they do? There is this phrase I have heard them use that just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

“It is fine if he ‘stole’ my idea- read IP Asset- . It’s my talent. I will go ahead and create something else.”

With such statements, how do you expect to be taken seriously? It is important to assert your intellectual property rights. Make it known to the infringing party that you are mad, that you are annoyed and that you are going to put up a fight.

To have a claim for infringement you need to have protected your work. If it is literary or musical works and software, please register the copyright to the works. There is a reason why we do this. Evidence! Same applies to other creations like recipes and gadgets. Get a patent, a utility model, industrial design and brand your creations and register trademarks.

It is important to do so. If you as a creative suffer from this ailment. Actually, it is more of a disease because it is severe. Please quit. Stop spoiling for the rest and do something else. Borrow a leaf the likes of our very own Kevin Wyre. Wyre started his career on or about 1999 or 2000 when he released his first single ‘Sikiza’. It now over a decade and he still remains relevant with the current trends and markets. He has managed to smoothly transition in style and as a brand. That is how he maintains to continually gain global and regional recognition through various nominations.

In whichever sector you are of the creative industry, if you are not in it to make a name and create a business. Please stop and let the serious parties take over. For as long as the ‘hobby-ism’ trend continues, it will be hard to set standards and precedents that will lead this industry to be as successful as it should.

I recently had a chat with the Managing Director of Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO), Dr. Marisella Ouma,  and she shared some interesting research results with me. They interacted with a local producer who made a trend setting and award winning film but they did not really care about the commercial aspect once the movie was released. In fact, they had no objections to the movie’s piracy. I do not know how this makes you feel as a creative, but as an Intellectual Property lawyer, I cringe at such statement and find it annoying. Such practices, beliefs and approaches are only setting us back as an industry.

I am of the strong opinion, if you are a creative in it just for fun, please do not broadcast or share your works in the public domain. We do not need to set any more bad precedence that is hindering the process of formalizing the creative industry.


  • vnzomo

    Agreed. Your Intellectual Property is your shamba!

    March 18, 2014 at 10:13 pm
  • Carol

    Lovely read Liz. Let he who has eyes read and react

    March 18, 2014 at 11:32 pm
  • karubiu

    A Worthy read… For a Multi-Creative, that’s a good way to lay the facts on the table… Ama people want a Great Depression so that they can understand the power of guarding their property?

    March 19, 2014 at 1:45 am
  • Natic Natication

    Good stuff Liz

    March 19, 2014 at 10:40 am
  • Kyraz

    Nice read,but you should also highlight the financial aspect,consistency requires a steady flow of monetary input.

    March 19, 2014 at 11:04 am
      • wilson malaba

        Liz, your zeal and passion can not be confused for activism and agression. you are on point, cut and dry. its high time artists of all cadre view their work and craftsmanship as a professional job and if one has to view it or consider it as hobby then that hobby must pay for his upkeep, rent, food and maintain his/her lifestyle.
        its not bad to have a hobby but not at the expense of hard earned and Godly gifted talents and arts. in my life within the industry i have realized that ones talent and passion is what takes them places and makes them known the world over. example is our musicians and even Lupita Nyongo is a great example. the good book(bible) says, your gift/talent opens the way for you and ushers you into the prescence of the great. Prov 18:16. amen

        March 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm
  • Richard Ngugi

    Thank you! We need more bloggers in the Creative Industry creating more awareness on such issues. To much exploitation going on.

    March 19, 2014 at 10:32 pm
  • Kawi

    Maybe the reason people say “It is fine if he ‘stole’ my idea- read IP Asset- . It’s my talent. I will go ahead and create something else.” is because of the procedures & processes involved in having your IP rights protected. Most of these legal actions take ages and by the time you’re having it sorted, you’ve spent more time, money and effort that you could have used creating a new thing.

    I think someone should engage IP & copyrights from the time they’re creating, so that it’s clear who owns the “IP-asset”. Things like photography, blog posts, poetry, designs – they’re stolen every day.

    Also, maybe the reason people say that is because they don’t know simple ways to report IP thieves. Is there an online platform to do that, without having to get a lawyer? WordPress and blogspot allow for one to report, I don’t know what they do after that…lol

    April 3, 2014 at 1:23 pm