Entertainment law or media law is a term for a mix of more traditional categories of law with a focus on providing legal services to the entertainment industry. The principal areas of Entertainment Law overlap substantially with the well-known and conventional field of intellectual property law. But generally speaking the practice of entertainment law often involves questions of employment law, contract law, torts, labor law, bankruptcy law, immigration, securities law, security interests, agency, intellectual property (especially trademarks, copyright, and the so-called "Right of Publicity"), right of privacy, defamation, clearance of rights, product placement, advertising, criminal law, tax law, International law (especially Private international law), and insurance law. Much of the work of an entertainment law practice is transaction based, i.e. drafting contracts, negotiation and mediation. Some situations may lead to litigation or arbitration.
Entertainment law covers an area of law which involves media of all types (TV, film, music, publishing, advertising, internet & new media, etc.), and stretches over various legal fields, including but not limited to corporate, finance, intellectual property, publicity and privacy, and first amendment.
As the popularity of media became widespread, the field of media law became more popular, as certain corporate professionals have wanted to participate in media. As a result, many young lawyers fledged into media law which allowed them the opportunity to increase connections in media, and the opportunity to become a media presenter or an acting role if such an opportunity arose.
Entertainment law is generally sub-divided into the following areas related to the types of activities that have their own specific trade unions, production techniques, rules, customs, case law, and negotiation strategies:
- FILM: covering option agreements, finance, chain of title issues, talent agreements (screenwriters, film directors, actors, composers, production designers), production and post production and trade union issues, distribution issues, motion picture industry negotiations distribution, and general intellectual property issues especially relating to copyright and, to a lesser extent, trademarks;
- MULTIMEDIA, including software licensing issues, video game development and production, Information technology law, and general intellectual property issues;
- MUSIC: including talent agreements (musicians, composers), producer agreements, and synchronization rights, music industry negotiation and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright (see music law);
- PUBLISHING and print media issues, including advertising, models, author agreements and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright;
- TELEVISION and RADIO including broadcast licensing and regulatory issues, mechanical licenses, and general intellectual property issues, especially relating to copyright;
- THEATRE: including rental agreements and co-production agreements, and other performance oriented legal issues;
- VISUAL ARTS AND DESIGN including fine arts, issues of consignment of artworks to art dealers, moral rights of sculptors regarding works in public places; and industrial design, issues related to the protection of graphic design elements in products.
Media law is a legal field that refers to the following:
Types of Entertainment Law Firms
There are different types of entertainment law firms, and different types of entertainment practices within law firms. Not all entertainment lawyers do the same thing for their clients, so as a client, you must identify what you need help with, and from which kind of lawyer to seek assistance. Generally, there are two different types of entertainment lawyer, just as there are in other areas of law - litigation attorneys and transactional attorneys. Litigation attorneys specialize in offensive and defensive legal actions involving other parties (i.e. responding to a lawsuit from another person, issuing preliminary demands or commencing a legal action when you believe someone is violating your legal or contractual rights, responding to governmental inquiries or when accused of violations of the law, etc.). Transactional attorneys specialize in facilitating business deals, negotiation tactics, strategic business initiatives, and other contractual matters involved in business (i.e. production deals, talent deals, financing deals, etc.), even when no other party than the client is involved (i.e. business formation, trademarks, copyrights, etc.). Individual lawyers tend to focus on one type of entertainment matter, but entertainment law firms often have a diversified practice group. While larger law firms can provide breadth of coverage, they tend to also require higher payments from clients, have less individual interaction with their clients, and follow a more formal attorney-client relationship pattern. Boutique firms and solo practitioner lawyers tend to focus more acutely on one area of entertainment, but they also charge lower fees, have less access to and knowledge base of the wide areas of the entertainment business, and tend to interact more one-on-one with their clients.
- Intellectual property
- Media justice
- Music law
- Engineering law
- Sports law
- Sunshine in the Courtroom Act
- Communications and Media Association Inc
- National Council for the Training of Journalists book on media law
- Media Copyrights Law
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