Lawpreneur: making the most out of your LLB qualification (4)

In part 1 of this series, the author traced the background antecedents to the poor management of Ghana’s professional legal education and compared its training to those of other jurisdictions hence shot down the poor management of Ghana’s professional legal education. In the spirit of lawpreneurship, the author enumerated on one (1) of the five (5) lawpreneurial pursuits i.e. insurance claim management for pursuance by LLB holders who do not have the opportunity of pursuing the professional legal practice certification.

The five (5) lawpreneurial pursuits are:

  1. Insurance claim management
  2. Property management
  3. Trade representative management
  4. Intellectual property management
  5. Labour issues management

Having dealt with the first pursuit in part 1 of this series, I quickly progressed to make a business sense of property management as the second pursuit in part 2 part of this series. I highlighted the fact that property management firms do not necessarily have to own their own properties; rather they can secure management agreement with landlords and then look for tenants to occupy the property and manage their stay.

Also, the profitability level of a property management firm is dependent on the ability of potential tenants to be able to maintain the property to make business sense for the landlord and the management firm by paying their rents promptly and at market rate, and also taking good care of the property by not incurring the management firm high cost avoidable maintenance. I alluded to another fact that, landlords must give property management firms a good room for discretionary powers to enables the firms operate at some level of certainty and with freehand.

Furthermore, a good communication skill is paramount to business success. The LLB education aptly equips students with good communication skills. This skill must be brought to bear on their lawpreneurship engagements. I maintain that the LLB qualification is a good enough qualification to earn holders a decent economic life if at least they apply the same level of educational seriousness in the world of work.

In part 3 of this series, I discussed the needed collaborative trade partnership needed for mutual benefits for parties in trade agreement. I further touched on the procedural aspects of intellectual property management in a question and answer approach. In this article, I will discuss in detail the necessary management techniques required to operate an intellectual property management firm.

  1. Intellectual Property Management (IPM)

The fourth lawpreneurship venture in this series is Intellectual Property Management (IPM). I will endeavour to keep this straight between “the hammer and the anvil” to the exactly areas that are burdened with an extreme mismanagement and abuse of Intellectual Property in Ghana. They include:

  1. The music industry

The Ghanaian music industry is perhaps one of the music gifted talent to the Ghanaian. Right from the days of the E.T. Mensah, Osibisa Band, The Classic Handles, Wulomei Band to modern day music; the likes of Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, Rocky Dawuni, Adani Best, Bice Obuor, Tinny, Shatta Wale, but to mention a few. Ghanaian musicians have excelled in all genres of music.

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The extent to which the intellectual property Ghanaian musicians have been managed leaves much to talk about. The struggle with copyright collection by commercial users of Ghanaian music in Ghana has not even been harmonised. The GAMRO Office for music rights collection is still struggling to have a game plan for rights collection.

The financial opportunities available for LLB holders to have a management framework to manage the collection of music rights for musicians are enormous. Setting up an agency to effectively manage music rights collection for musicians will be a step in the right direction for the management firm, musicians and the government as a whole.

Since there is a music rights collection body, the management firm can work through the rights collection body to ensure that the musicians whose rights they manage are paid what is due them. The management firm through its management tracking system should be able to tell if users of musical works are paying the right amount to the collection body and if they are not paying the right amount the management firm can take the right steps to collecting its clients’ money.

By the way, the prudent management firm can, with the right technology and legal means directly collect monies of its clients directly from the users of the music. The musician does not necessarily have to belong to the rights collection body to get its copyright monies. A management firm can aptly do it on their behalf.

Hard work in music rights collection will flourish if management firms are setup specifically for music rights collection. Need I say that music rights collection is not only limited to commercial businesses playing the finished music? Music rights are vast it covers engineering, composing, instrumentation, performance, etc. What a glorious opportunity for LLB holders not necessarily to be called to the Bar to use their legal education but instead through the creation of music management firms.

  1. Painting, Calving and Textile Design

Ghanaians have great creative abilities. The likes of Theodosa Okoh, Ablade Glover, Amon Kotey, Saka Acquaye, the coffin makers of Accra East (Teshie, Nungua, etc.) and many others who contributed their creativity to give shape to the brand Ghana are worthy of praise. How much business they generated and are still generating from their creative works remains a big question.

Many years on, Leonardo da Vinci is still celebrated and earning royalties for the single painting of the Monalisa portrait. Talk of August Rodin, Pablo Picasso, etc. are great artists whose works are celebrated universally not only for the uniqueness of their works but also because of the effective management of their intellectual property.

The designs and printing of the English wax and the Hollandias (Dumas) continue to generate lots of income for the foreign textile industry selling mostly into the Ghanaian market with little or no market for those textiles in the manufacturers’ home country.

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Contrarily, the lack and strict enforcement of textile designs by Ghanaians have seen Chinese textile manufacturers abusing the intellectual property of Ghanaian textile designers. Do we sit continuously unconcern or LLB holders will put their legal education into business to start-up management firms to protect the intellectual property rights of painters, sculptors and textile designers?

  • Literary works

The sad aspect of the gigantic intellectual property abuse is in the textbooks books, photocopying and electronic sharing of literary works that are supposed to be originally obtained. The Ghanaian textbook author is losing so much revenue to this abuse. How efficient and well managed is the Copyright Society office of Ghana to protect the intellectual property of Ghanaian authors?

Is it possible for the creation of a management firm whose niche practice will be to manage the literary works of Ghanaian authors from copyright? Yes! This is possible. Such firms can have international agreement with world renowned authors (mainly motivational authors) and publishers whose works are copyrighted and sold all over the streets.

The LLB qualification is undoubtedly one of the strongest arsenals that can be used to change society speedily. The “wig and robe” does not matter much like using the thinking prowess of a learned person to improve society. The effective part of the legal education is taught and studied at the LLB level therefore with seriousness; the LLB holder should not be limited by the cudgels of “wicked men” whose best bet is to prevent them from wearing the “wig and robe” a uniform which is even described to because the cause of suffering and in some cases death of some lawyers because of the heat it generates on the human body under the atmospheric conditions of the tropic and the improper ventilation of some court rooms in Ghana.

  1. Media content

The liberalisation of the Ghanaian media space has seen many Frequency Modulation (FM) stations and digital broadcasting multiplying by the minute. The opportunity for media freedom in Ghana presents yet another opportunity for media content analysis for plagiarism. This is a new area that requires both academic study and practice.

A media content analysis management firm will be able to track all media programmes and tell which station and/or channel is plagiarising the other. Plagiarism is a big deal in law. Such a move will help improve the quality of broadcasting in Ghana.

This avenue is yet another huge business opportunity for Ghanaian LLB holders in Ghana. The repertoire of business opportunities in the study of law and obtaining of an LLB is limitless to the astute business minded LLB holder. To all LLB holders in Ghana (with or without the Bar), the majestic words of Napoleon Hill keep echoing “think and grow rich.” Yes, you can do much and far better without the “horse fur and long black gown” metaphorically the “wig and robe”.

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