Entertainment law is a highly volatile area that is constantly changing. If you’re in this industry, be smart and have entertainment savvy legal representation.
Entertainment law is an area that is a mystery to many folks and they don’t understand what this kind of attorney actually does. Given the nature of the specialized knowledge these attorneys deal with, it goes without saying that their expertise will protect your rights. Entertainment attorneys handle all the legal aspects of film and TV productions, set up music and film production companies, deal with talent agreements (including modeling, singers, actors and musicians) and ride herd on the details for film financing and production issues.
Along with all those issues, entertainment attorneys also draft producer agreements for both film and music, put together music licensing agreements and writer option agreements plus tend to copywrite law and all appropriate registrations. Mixed in with all these tasks, the attorney will also take care of trademark applications, distribution matters, draft solid non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality agreements and take care of prepping releases.
Hiring a lawyer like this is a guarantee that your legal rights will be protected in an industry known for its particularly fierce competition. Unfortunately there are also stories of abuse of power and control when it comes to the various agreements needed to make it in the entertainment business. Having an expert entertainment lawyer on board will also ensure your co-production agreements are handled correctly, that artist/management agreements protect the artist and management equally, that artist recording agreements reflect the needs of the artist and that director agreements accurately spell out what the director is required to do and receive in return for his or her services.
Generally speaking a great deal of the work an entertainment lawyer does is transactional in nature – meaning they draft a lot of contracts. However this isn’t to say that they don’t handle cases that need litigation or arbitration. Entertainment law is an eclectic mix of subcategories and is also referred to as media law. It has a great deal in common with the field of intellectual property law.
If you were to ask an entertainment lawyer what they do, their answer would likely be that they deal with such diverse areas of law as immigration, securities law, agency, bankruptcy law, labor law, international law, insurance law and employment law. Even these particular categories have further areas within them that have their own unique trade unions, rules, case law, production techniques and negotiation strategies.
For example if you hire an entertainment lawyer to deal with agreements, contracts and options, etc. in film, they would also need to be well aware of chain of title, finance; and what screen writers, film directors, composers, designers and actors do. This would also include post production, trade union issues and distribution issues, and motion picture industry negotiations distribution. As you can see, having a highly skilled entertainment lawyer on board will make all the difference in the world to how smoothly your operation runs.