The Entertainment Industry is one of the most promising sectors in Nigeria. This sector has seen gradual growth over the years, with more and more production companies opening up their doors to offer services to clients. However, this also means that there is an increasing number of production companies looking for legal advice on how to avoid any legal issues during COVID times.
This post contains information about what lawyers, producers and business owners should be aware of when dealing with entertainment-related matters in Nigeria so as to ensure a production business or company doesn’t end up at odds with the law.
In light of COVID-19, production companies should be aware that there are a few legal issues to consider. While these laws may differ depending on what type of work is being created, here are some general tips for avoiding common pitfalls in Nigeria. The most important legal issues you might face is with regard to the contracts you have entered.
Issues relating to Contract
The latest COVID-19 outbreak has caused several problems to production companies. Contracts including responsibilities that first seemed possible, now cannot be performed owing to unanticipated circumstances. These include time spent away from work owing to infection or other issues stemming from it. . When force majeure and/or frustration are involved, insurance plans normally cover some of the expenses of terminating a contract; however, they may not cover all damages paid by either party if legal action is taken afterward.
Contracts often need modifications to be made via amendments, although for the most part, this is the easier approach. The most fundamental prerequisite for changing any contract is to look at what it says about how it may be updated and determine if altering the present agreement will suffice or whether a new one with all of its key information must be put in place instead.
It is no secret that contractual issues can be difficult to manage, especially during COVID time. Production companies should have a clear understanding of the scope and jurisdiction for every contract that is signed. It’s important to get legal advice before signing any documents relating to your film project. There are risks involved with not having an Entertainment lawyer in Nigeria who can help you navigate these issues. Especially during COVID time, it’s important to be proactive with your contracts and make sure they are all valid and if there is a breach due to force majeure or impossibility of performance, approach any entertainment lawyer in Nigeria who would be able to guide you.
If you are a production company that is engaged in live events then it is likely that your event has been canceled for an extended period of time. The cancellation of events may give rise to possible consumer claims. Companies may have difficulties in refunding money to ticketholders, putting pressure on the industry’s already sluggish economy.
To understand their position regarding event cancellations and refunds, stakeholders in live entertainment events should study ticket terms and conditions, policies, and duties in respect to delivering services under relevant consumer laws.
The entertainment sector’s workforce is mostly made up of temporary employees or contractors who are not entitled to benefits or permanent contracts and hence risk losing their jobs. Because production and distribution are almost at a standstill, businesses will attempt to reduce expenses sooner rather than later, resulting in salary cutbacks and layoffs for causes beyond the employer’s control. However, these can end up having a significant impact on people’s livelihoods and prudent decisions have to be made by companies before laying off people.
Another critical problem at hand is the management of the working environment and guaranteeing the safety of the workers when they do return to work. It is no secret that many in the entertainment industry in Nigeria are eager to get back to work. People are more likely to report to work even if their health is affected, which might transmit the infection further. Production companies should take steps to ensure that workers are tested frequently,
One of the main challenges that the sector is facing is a conflict between the desire to resume production and the necessity to preserve the health and safety of its employees. Several steps such as a high degree of sanitization of the set, regular COVID testing mechanism, complying with any and all government-mandated steps, avoiding travels outside of Nigeria for shooting are all steps production companies can take.
Consulting your particular situation with an entertainment lawyer in Nigeria would help you avoid legal consequences as an aftereffect of COVID-19.
If you are a production company and would like to discuss more, please contact us to arrange for a consultation.