Entertainment Lawyer

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Entertainment law provides individuals in the entertainment industry with the protection they deserve. Entertainment law spans into music, television, film, etc. Whether you were signed to a music label or cast with a starring role in a feature film, an entertainment attorney will provide you with the proper tools to ensure you are never taken advantage of. In entertainment law, your attorney can wear many different hats.

Your attorney can act as a guide for new businesses, or assist existing businesses with investments, joint ventures or creating ownership for your company. We also represent talent and assist in legal negotiations, managing daily as well as personal life.

Often, entertainment-related agreements are meant to protect business executives involved in your endeavor and not the most important person involved, YOU! Let us help to ensure that you are also protected, and all of your project-related needs are addressed. We can assist in explaining any complex legal jargon, along with negotiation of any contingencies or contract re-drafts.

Let us help you navigate the complexities of the entertainment industry.

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What’s involved in Entertainment Law?

The daily life of an entertainment attorney can include many different facets. This type of law involves knowledge of many other areas of the legal world. One must have a background in business negotiation, contracts, intellectual property, etc. A typical day might consist of a multitude of tasks:

  • Contracts

    A prime role of your entertainment attorney is the drafting or editing of contracts for any upcoming business endeavors. This is to ensure that not only the party you are going into business with is protected, but that you and your needs are also protected. It is important that all parties involved in a new business endeavor are in agreement to create for any future complications. We know what to look out for down the line and can assist in protecting you from any complications.
  • Distributionbr>
    Whether it is an upcoming film, album, or product intended to be released, your attorney will assist you in a distribution deal. There are two types of distribution agreements, exclusive and non-exclusive. In an exclusive agreement, there is only one party involved in the distribution process, meaning that no other distributors can be involved. This can often prove to be tricky because the product, film, or album is at the mercy of a singular person as opposed to a multitude of people. In this type of distribution agreement, your legal attorney is responsible for holding the exclusive distributor accountable for accurately distributing your product. In a non-exclusive distribution agreement, there are multiple distributors at play which creates for less of a concern of a product being distributed effectively.
  • Financing

    So, your first feature film has been picked up. Now, the top question is how is it going to be financed? A financial agreement is between the individual and the business interested in the product. This type of agreement outlines how the said business or individual plans to finance the upcoming project. Sometimes, a company or individual may not have the proper funds upfront. A financial agreement outlines and ensures that the company is held accountable for funds owed to get a project up and running. This type of agreement can also apply to outside funding. A financial agreement can allow the person borrowing funds to repay the funds owed using the monies earned from the project. A financial agreement also ensures the prime entity is protected in the event that something goes wrong or a certain project gets shut down. Some items that may be outlined in a financial agreement might be as follows:

    - Business titles and names of parties involved in the financial agreement
    - A description of the product, film or item
    - An outline of finances being borrowed
    - Where and how the finances will be paid
    - How and when the finances will be re-paid
    - A statement on what the finances will be used for
    - An agreement on how the parties involved will resolve any disputes or any delays in payment


  • Releases

    Whenever a client books a performance or appearance, an agreement must be intact or licensing purposes and location agreements. An appearance release or agreement ensures that participants’ rights are secured and secures that any appropriate rights for footage are secured so that it can be used. Each appearance release should include a multitude of items. The release should include exact details on the appearance – where will it be? How will it be used? Is it live or pre-recorded? Where and how will it be shown if it is filmed prior? Compensation must also be outlined. As a general statement, most individuals involved in a project must be paid at least the state’s minimum wage, with the possibility of overtime hours for certain parties. If the appearance is for a charity, for example, there must be an outlined agreement that the party involved is acknowledging that there will be no pay for their services and that they are a volunteer. The party must also agree that said company is not obliged to use any of the footage filmed (if filmed prior to air). The use of footage is still subject to the company so the client must be aware that the appearance may not ultimately be aired. Finally, the client must sign an agreement stating they approve the use of their footage being used by the company, also known as a video release form. A video release form allows a company to use a person’s image and or voice for a particular project for the benefit of the company. This can include website, film, audio, and/or picture coverage.
  • Contract Reviews

    Your entertainment attorney will review and make alterations to any contracts or agreements for any upcoming business endeavors. This is extremely integral so ensure the safety of all parties involved. This process involves analyzing the rights of our client and the legal rights of both the client and the business party involved in the project.

Your entertainment attorney will not only work with endeavors involving legalities but also business-related endeavors (i.e. pitches, budgets, etc.). Entertainment attorneys are typically categorized by sector. Some entertainment attorneys strictly serve the film industry and some strictly serve the music industry. Across the board, your entertainment attorney will assist in all issues concerning financial, distribution, and developmental agreements of a project.

Entertainment Law Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I ensure that I am being compensated appropriately for my appearance?
Typically, a client is paid a flat fee or minimum wage for an appearance in a television show or film. Often times an actress or actor will be paid overtime. It is important that the desires of our client are clearly negotiated in the contract, as well as the video release form.
What if I don’t want my image to be used for everything in a project?
In a video release agreement, we are able to negotiate on your behalf. For example, if a company would like all audio, video, and photo rights agreed to by the client, we can effectively work on your behalf to ensure your needs are met and your image is used where agreed upon. This can ultimately affect financial agreements, but typically we are able to come to an agreement that benefits all parties and namely, our client.
What is Copyright law?
Copyright gives you, as an author or creator the rights to your work. This can include rights to film, music, or literary work (published or unpublished). Only the creator can secure copyright claims to their work.
How do I ensure work is copyrighted?
From the time a work is created, copyright law is in place. If someone who is not the creator claims creation rights to your work, it is considered copyright infringement. Copyright registration is the easiest, most affordable way to ensure your work is protected. Copyright registration can be obtained by filling out an application from the U.S. Copyright Office.
How do I protect my film, artist, or band name from being used by anyone else?
The first step is to research whether the title or name is already being used by another band, film, or artist. If the name is not in use, you may be able to trademark the name to prevent it from being used by anyone else. This can be done by applying for a federal U.S. trademark. This application process can be done without the help of your entertainment attorney, typically and does not take very long dependent upon the accuracy of the name in question already being in use.
What should the process be when I book a live, tv, or film appearance?
Upon booking an appearance, consulting with your entertainment attorney when receiving your contract is highly encouraged. The contract can be relatively simple, stating the date, time, and place of a performance, but without a written contract this can lead to future complications. Some complications might be failure to receive payment, appearance cancellations, or misuse of content from the appearance. As your attorney, we will negotiate with the appropriate parties and draft or re-draft any contractual agreements to ensure that no future complications come into play.

Types of Entertainment Law.

An entertainment attorney is involved in many different types of law. Some of this might be:

  • Non-compete agreements

    Non-compete agreements protect a company from having their client work with the “competition” for a certain period of time after a project is completed. This can be a complicated process and may involve some “give and take” on both parties’ ends.
  • Contract law

    A big part of entertainment law, is contract law. Contracts typically vary project to project. A contract for a film, for example, might require agreeing to certain obligations for a lengthier amount of time, while a contract for an appearance on a television show is considered a “one-time” agreement. Drafting and negotiating finances and expectations is a big part of entertainment law. Our top goal is to ensure that everything agreed upon is favorable to our clients.
  • Litigation

    Especially in the entertainment world, there are times when contracts may result in disagreement. This is where litigation law comes into play. Litigation could be used to resolve anything from contractual disagreements, financial, or even employment disputes. When litigation is involved, it entails filing a complaint through the public court system.


  • Employment law

    It is important for your entertainment attorney to establish the employer/employee relationship. This could be anything from establishing a minimum wage and overtime agreements, unemployment compensation, and employment discrimination regulation.
  • Compliance

    Compliance law entails ensuring that entertainment producers are complying with the appropriate rules and regulations that they are legally obliged to comply with. These regulations are put into place by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). This also bleeds into ensuring that companies are giving equal opportunities to clients based on race, political background as well as religion.
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