Helping Artists Navigate The World of IP Rights

Priyanjana Bhattarai

Founder, Kala Legal

While doing research on the topic of “copyright” arose a unique and unexpected idea that would help artists of Nepal protect their intellectual property. Kala Legal is making strong moves in the direction of changing the paradigm of intellectual property in Nepal.

Its founder Priyanjana Bhattarai goes back to her childhood when the idea of a career in law took shape. “When I was in grade 5, I met someone who got me curious about law and how he became the voice for people in need. Later in grade 7, I read a book called ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and the character ‘Atticus’ left a huge impact on me,” reminisces Bhattarai. “My parents wanted me to become a doctor, and I wanted to become a journalist but I chose law because I saw that law is the balance point between being a journalist and having a professional job like that of a doctor,” she elaborates.

Bhattarai envisions Kala Legal as a brand that will serve as a bridge between legal information surrounding laws for artists and the artists themselves. “IP firms are widely seen in Nepal but they are trademark centric only. There are four domains of IP which are trademark, copyright, patent and design, so our goal is to give a full IP solution focusing on copyright,” explains Bhattarai.

Bhattarai completed her education in India. She shares that while trying to understand the scenario of copyright law between two neighbouring countries, she found close to no information here in Nepal. “For me, that was a big wake up call. There is Nepal Kanun Patrika which only stores the data of Supreme Court and I realised that if I as a lawyer were facing difficulty in gaining information on IP and copyright laws in Nepal, what must be the situation of those who have little or no idea about it, especially young artists who get robbed of their rights due to false agreements,” says Bhattarai.

Inception of Kala Legal began from an Instagram page in August 2020 and it’s unique in that there are no competitors. Bhattarai says, “We have created a niche. Whenever artists think about their rights, they remember Kala Legal.”

Sustaining the firm has been tough for Bhattarai. She says, “Our consultation fees are minimum. It ranges from Rs 250 to Rs 500 and for those who cannot afford it, we even consult for free.” Kala Legal also offers workshops every 2-3 months, free consultation, and focuses on educating and spreading awareness for those engaged in the entertainment media industry. To support their operational expenses, Kala Legal now also works for corporates and trademark registration.

When questioned about her journey as a fresh start-up operated by a young woman, Bhattarai says, “Being a young entrepreneur in a competitive field is a challenge. People tend to search for bigger firms and I cannot compete in the same caliber because I don’t have the resources that they have.” She explains, “I studied law from India which means that I don’t have colleagues or friends who can help me find resources and referrals in Nepal. Also because the lawyer’s society is a tight-knit circle, gaining access to information from the inside circle is difficult and you are often underestimated without using connections or resources.”

Towards the future, she says, “We are trying to make an internet-based service centre where you are able to register your copyright from any corner of the world. To achieve this, we have to work with the government starting from our own country because the data is still manual and we want to make it digital in the IP sector.”

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