Entertainment Law is a complex and very niche practice area that not many lawyers practice. This is because it requires a tremendous amount of study to grasp the many interacting questions of law that must be mastered to fully navigate a client’s matter. Entertainment lawyers also must maintain appropriate standing within the industry, and be able to comprehend the jargon, rights of passage, and subtle nuances of negotiation the Entertainment industry is renowned for.
Disclaimer: Our law office has provided the below information as a point of reference to help you understand the basic/common intellectual property law issues that we deal with and to help you answer basic questions. The below information is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney and should not be considered as much. The below information does not constitute our firm offering you legal advice.
Our Focus on Entertainment Law
- What sort of Entertainment clients do you represent?
Our legal expertise applies primarily to Music, Television, Literary Works (Books and Digital Print Media), as well as Video Game and App Designers. Within those areas, we have represented clients that are at each end of the spectrum: from the up-and-coming talent all the way to established production studios and major corporate show business entities. We have dealt with just about every personality type in the industry.
- What sort of assistance can you provide for entertainment issues?
Just about what circumstance you can imagine, so long as it’s within the practice areas of Music, TV, Film, Print/Digital Literary Works, or Video Game/App Development. However, a lot of folks assume there’s a quick, cheap road to handling their Entertainment issues when ultimately that winds them in a heap of trouble. We cannot stress enough how important a seasoned Entertainment Attorney is for those seeking to take the business seriously.
In this line of work, every client comes to us with different needs at varying levels of complexity. Take, for example, a musician. Is it a songwriter? Do they want to perform? Do they have a band that perhaps needs intellectual property rights cleared, a band management agreement, or business filings accomplished? Do they need registration with a Performing Rights Organization (PROs like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc.)? Are they asking us to review or negotiate a signing (360) deal presented to them by a label? Do they want us to “solicit” their music to a label or publisher? Did musician mean they are a studio producer and their Copyright ownership shifts to rights as applied to sound recordings? The question just gets to be too broad to answer without involved in the particular fact scenario, and often attorneys inexperienced in this area of practice will miss the nuances that could cost their clients a great deal of income.
- Will your firm pitch me to major labels or agents?
Sometimes, but generally not. This is because people tend to get unrealistic expectations from our offering this service. What we do is help you understand what may be at stake before an initial offer is made to you with respect to your career goals. More, in the event that you are made an offer with respect to your career, you can contact our firm to make sure that you are not leaving any money on the table from royalty rights or otherwise. We can help you negotiate or draft your contracts such that you are not receiving the short end of the deal. We want to help you start your career off on the right path from the very beginning, because no one wants to end up signing their rights away on a contract they just did not understand.
- What kind of clients does your firm represent in the Music Industry?
You name it. On the song composition side: We’ve helped individuals, bands, accountants, chamber music groups, a Capella groups, songwriters, and publishers all understand their rights or generate revenue from them. On the recording side: start-up projects, established studios to lesser known studios which are based in garages (or sometimes closets), people approached by a label, people calling themselves a “label” and needing advisement as to what that means, labels, producers, engineers, and more. We’ve helped pop music artists, country artists, hip-hop and R&B artists, even dub-step artists (which, actually gets a bit complex with all the sampling).
- What kind of clients does your firm represent in the Television Industry?
Our primary focus has been the exchange of negotiations between multiple production studios and the talent that comprise Reality Television. These days, however, with the growing popularity of Internet-based “television” mediums like YouTube, Twitch, Periscope, even Facebook broadcasts, it’s hard not to say we’re evolving (and excited about the future).
Literary Works Clients: Print & Digital
- What kind of clients does your firm represent in the Literary Works industry?
We have been fortunate enough to represent a number of very talented writers and aid them navigate their numerous complex issues, especially when the writer is a member of the digital community, such as a “Blogger”. We’ve handled book signings, publishing negotiations, rights to publicity (such as where an author uses a pseudonym) and nondisclosure issues, fair use defenses, and much more for writers from all walks of the industry.
- What do you mean your firm can help me with a gaming issue?
If you are a video game creator or own a gaming/entertainment website, we can help you understand your legal rights and the potential intellectual property issues that are at stake. With respect to the intellectual property rights that may be at stake, we can make sure your game or website has set up the appropriate safeguards to ensure that your profitability is at its pinnacle and that you have registered for protection of your rights through all pertinent avenues. More, our firm can draft what is called an End User License Agreement (“EULA”), which is the contract that establishes the use of your product with all of its existing and potential users.
- What are some of the issues with EULAs?
In a nutshell, the answer is that many companies have EULAs that are drafted far too one-sided. An EULA is a contract and therefore cannot be unconscionable. A lot of gaming and entertainment companies have attempted to bring actions under their EULAs unsuccessfully due to the fact that their EULA was poorly drafted or too complicated for the user of the product to understand. EULAs should avoid terminology that is difficult to understand and that unnecessarily binds the consumer to terms that they would not ordinarily agree. We can help you draft a concise, easy to read EULA that will actually have legal significance.