Entertainment law legal services focus on providing services to companies or individuals in the entertainment business. Those services often involve contracts and intellectual property (most often trademarks and copyright, including for brand protection). Entertainment law is a collection of many areas of law that impact the entertainment industry, including transactional law and litigation. Laws that impact the entertainment industry include federal and state laws, rules created by government agencies, and common law precedents, as well as legal precedents created by the courts. Entertainment law impacts not only the talent that performs in the entertainment industry but also the production aspects of creating entertainment content.
As you might expect in any arena in which complex arrangements are attended to, a large part of entertainment law is contract law. Contracts in the entertainment industry can last years or for a single event. Large sums of money can be involved. Drafting and negotiating contracts is a key part of entertainment law. Entertainment lawyers do the hard work of carefully negotiating agreements that are favorable to their clients and being mindful of issues like the enforceability of contracts and how to most effectively secure remedies for their clients with damages, which can include specific types of performance, in the event of a breach.
At the phase when a production company may want to develop and promote a talent non-compete agreements can be critical. Assurances mat be needed from the talent that they will abstain from working for the competitors for a period of time after their employment ends with the company. An agreement that restricts a talent from working for the competition is called a non-compete agreement. Both national on-air talents and local talents may have a non-compete agreement as a standard part of their employment contract. To be enforceable, however, non-compete agreements must be reasonable. Creating and enforcing non-compete agreements are often a part of entertainment law.
When there are disputes, litigation may ensue. Litigation may be a vehicle to resolve contract disputes, torts, employment disputes and other types of wrongs or disagreements. Entertainment law attorneys must be skilled in civil procedure, trial advocacy and alternative dispute resolution in order to help clients achieve favorable litigation outcomes.
Labor and employment laws are also a big part of the industry. Whether an attorney is interpreting and applying federal, state, or agency provisions, or negotiating a union contract, following, and understanding labor and employment laws is critical. These laws may relate to fair hiring practices, maximum allowed hours of work, workers compensation and/or safety regulations.
Producers of entertainment are regulated by rules and regulations just like the rest of us. The Federal Communications Commission creates regulations that apply to the entertainment industry. FCC restrictions, for example, prevent radio and television companies from owning too much control of any geographic market. They require radio or television stations to give equal airtime to competing political candidates. Entertainment attorneys are essential in helping those focused in creating art focus on their art by attending to the details of ensuring the sometimes-competing myriad of regulations that oversee the entertainment and communications industries are abided by.
In the context of entertainment law, the phrase “standards and practices” refers to the ethical and legal implications of an entertainment production practices. Effective lawyers help entertainment companies identify practices that might subject the company to legal liability. They help the company implement best practices in order to minimize liability. This may include anything from a recommendation to remove obscene content from a broadcast in order to avoid FCC fines to helping a corporation address issues that may arise during the production of a game show, and everything in between. As is the case with most lawyers, their goal is to minimize risk for their clients.
f you have been recognized for your talents, and you want a talented entertainment lawyer to alert you to guardrails while acting as your legal guardian angel, give one of our lawyers a call before signing your autograph on ANY critical contract (and all contracts MAY BE critical!)! The Best Actor Award goes to the one who acts wisely in the winner-take-all entertainment industry.
Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 484-272-5133.