If you are a creative, the major problem—but les attended to—you will have to face in your entire creative life is the fact that there are too many people out there who are going to come steal your ideas or your works to make them theirs, and some are even going to make you legally commit to what would subject you to serious exploitation of your creativity, just to benefit themselves more and benefit you less, and whichever of the two is coming your way, you have a very good chance of letting them win because you are desperate to be heard, seen or have a platform. You are in fact really likely to be the one who invites your own exploiters to come take from you what’s meant to benefit you. Also, if you are a creative, it’s almost impossible—especially in this part of the world where the laws and bodies protecting intellectual properties are weak—to not but always have people who like to make your works and ideas theirs, it’s just what you should expect; whether your works and ideas are good or not wouldn’t even stop them. Some of these ideas and works stealers are even—to your face—going to present your ideas and works like they are theirs; it’s just how it goes. But how do you let your ideas and works remain yours and yours alone even when they try to steal them from you?
It is very important to always involve a legal expert whenever you want to engage in any contract at all, and no matter who you are engaging in it with—even your parents, siblings or spouse, because the moment you ascent on that contract or accept those terms and conditions, you are subjected to their contents, and you don’t want to be subjected to what you don’t understand. So always involve the people whose profession is to understand contracts word for word. Don’t let your urge to cut the legal experts away from your money land you where you will have no money at all even when you are known with so many rich intellectual works. Be smart with your intellectual properties.
In the case when you are just an individual being creative and looking for platforms to exhibit the creativity, and you do not have legal advisers or the platforms you are working with are not big enough to have legal conditions, please always demand that they spell their terms and conditions out to you before engaging with them. Study the terms and conditions and make sure you understand them before accepting them; don’t let people robe you in troubles with words and phrases you don’t understand. Everyone does this, but don’t do it; don’t ignore the terms and conditions and policies—especially when they have to do with your intellectual properties. In fact, if the people or company you are about to be engaged with don’t want to provide terms and conditions or policies or a contract, kindly do yourself the favour of providing one for them to agree or disagree to, and make sure you are not putting yourself in troubles with your own provided contracts (i.e what the Nigerian dancehall artistes Cynthia Morgan is going through with her record label owned by Jude Okoye related to the PSquare).
However, it is advisable to always let the company or platform be the side to provide the contract or terms and conditions; they are bigger than you in the field, they probably know the realities of the field better than you, so let them provide the contracts or terms and conditions. If you like you accept, if you don’t like, you decline. Don’t let your desperation to have a platform put you in trouble or make you a slave. Don’t agree to terms and conditions and contracts that would make you give your intellectual properties away for cheap. Don’t deal with any platform at all that would want to absolutely take your intellectual properties from you by legally ripping you off all the rights to own your own intellectual properties. Let them provide the terms and conditions or contracts; provide only when they don’t want to, and make sure you don’t put yourself in troubles with your words as many of these companies and platforms would willingly make you be the one who proclaim your own doom because you don’t know what’s really happening where you are going to—you have not gotten there but they have, so be cunning with your dealings.