Blocknolly: Innovation Set To Reward Creativity Till Infinity (photo)

National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Mr Emeka Rollas Ejezie, has called on entertainers to invest in the blockchain revolution to empower and reward creativity, thereby saying no to exploitation by pay TV stations who rob actors of their royalties.

Mr Ejezie disclosed this during a meeting with actors Rachael Oniga, Alex Ekubo and crème de la crème and stakeholders of the industry – at Virginrose Resort in Victoria Island, Lagos – to introduce the blockchain technology to nollywood.

“Nigeria is the only country where actors do not receive royalties. Just recently we received Andrew Prodger, CEO of British Equity Collecting Society (BECS), whose purpose of visit was to assist Nigerian actors get remuneration for their creativity and intellectual property, with the support of the Spanish CMO for actors. They are looking at helping us overcome our challenges in all ways possible.

“An actor is not just someone who features in over 2,000 movies yet don’t have a home or anything to show for it. We must know that we begin to key in with other global participators in the industry to know how far we can go. We have here presidents of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Directors Guild of Nigeria, Actors Union, Marketers, etc.

“AGN is introducing this into the entertainment industry. It’s a process! We will eventually look into the blockchain technology, which is the innovation of the whole world today. This promises to do just three things: (1) Giving us opportunity to get money when our work is been aired, you get this money directly. You no longer look for any pay TV stations to pay you; because at that level when the company would have developed the royalty token, you will be able to access whatever you want to access. (2) Actors, producers, creative designers will have to be paid through this royalty token. (3) Plans are ongoing to ensure that when entertainers visit places such as hotels, shopping malls, marts, etc., one will be able to use the royalty token to get discounts, because you have the wallet being developed for you. And this is for a life time, not paying you for a year or two and after that you no longer have rights."

Stressing the importance of the initiative, which he said is open for investment as it is designed to drive it as entertainers, the AGN boss added: “We don’t want people to use us to drive their products. We want to drive what concerns us, using us to drive it. We want to open it to investors who want to be shareholders of blocknollytv. At the end of the day, we’ll have advertisers and global investors in this blockchain technology. Akon, a top musician, will soon launch something like this in his country. This blockchain is diverted through crypto currency, which is the next currency. That’s what we are talking about.”

Mr Ejezie continued: “Many years ago when e-mail and on-linetransactions came out, a lot of Nigerians were scared to get involved; but today everybody had to go online. Twenty-five years ago when VCD technology came out, the people who have the VHF tapes held on to their VHF tapes as if it was gold. When they began to understand, gradually, they had to sell VHF tapes for as low as N100 – N50, 000; not knowing that the people who bought those tapes were going to make a lot of money they never anticipated. When it comes to technology, it’s important for us as entertainers to understand it early so that we can key into this initiative and get what we deserve in the society; because, in Nigeria, entertainers has been reduced to a level where we can’t even speak.

“When you produce a film for N5 million, you take it to pay TV stations and you’re asked that you would be given N2 million. You have no option than to accept it because you have family issues. You give them the film, collect the money and walk out, crying bitterly inside your heart: because you have lost a project. This continues on and on. If we don’t do anything as a people who understands where it pains us, they will continue to use us till thy kingdom come. That’s why things like this came up to help us; because, if we develop this, we will have no need to beg anybody.

“I want to assure you that from our stable of AGN, we are convinced that in no time we will begin to capture our royalties, residuals, even from big pay TV stations in Nigeria that feels they can’t pay us royalties. Already, World Property Organization is beginning to differentiate between those rights. Telling us that the producers have rights, actors have their rights, and all of that are enshrined globally. So when you go to sell your film this time around, you can only sell the producers’ right, but the actors’ creative rights remain with them. This is so because when you go to court, you will have to be protected globally on anything, especially when your film is licensed in Nigeria and within a month of production it’s showing all over the world, thereby impoverishing us.”

Others at the event included Austiono Milado and Ijeomah Imoh. (Comperes), Ifeanyi Dike, Emma Ogugua, Sunny McDon, Frank Dallas, St. Maradona John, Tony Akposheri, Remmy Ohanjianya, Angella Phillips, Ifeoma Okeke, Matthew Nwankwo, Kingsley Okereke, Blewssing, Ifeme Ibe, Joe Brown, Ik Ogbonna, Prinece Ifeanyi Dike,Ralph Dike, Onyeka Andrew.
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