Entrepreneurship for Creatives | Intellectual Property

As creatives, are you aware of your rights? How familiar are you? Creatives’ rights are not always clearly outlined especially with today’s advancements. These were some of the questions posed by Dr Jeanine Rizzo in her session on Intellectual Property.

Dr Rizzo specialises in Copyright (both new and old media), trademarks, patents, design rights, entertainment law, music law and film law. Her experience has taken her into the depth of the creative industries with tailored legal expertise to all matters concerning the industry. It needs noting that while her session was not to be used as a form of legal advice, it was sufficiently informative and explanatory of the different rights held by creatives.

Dr Rizzo explained that working in the creative sector has many layers. Think of a production… what does it entail? The right to the production itself, the writers’ and directors’ rights, and the rights of the audio, among others. The same reasoning can be applied to Intellectual Property rights. Many existing and uprising IP rights are highlighted as examples, such as patents, design rights, trademarks, copyright as well as other sui generis rights which are new and unique.

Dr Rizzo mentioned the ‘rising stars’, rights which are gaining momentum, but are not as yet fully fledged IP rights. These include rights in relation to Geographical Indications of Origin and to Trade Secrets. Having different layers to the creative industry provides different ownership and usage of rights.

As Dr Rizzo explained, intellectual property is treated as an asset, capable of being owned, sold and licensed. Therefore, as a creative, you have different options on how you use and let others use your content and the rights that come along with it. It all depends on the right procedure. A creative can transfer your rights – and so, its ownership – or ‘simply’ grant permission on different aspects or better, on different layers of rights.

Interestingly, Dr Rizzo compared rights to differently labelled jars. She explained that rights are little collectibles found in different jars, each being capable of being personally kept, used or sold separately depending on the purpose and circumstances. As you layer your work, you can also layer how others use your work. This is why, each creator entails different terms, conditions and procedures to his/her line of work.

Dr Jeanine Rizzo can be contacted on jeanine@rizzo.mt