Entertainment Law Representation from an IP Attorney?
Yes. Entertainment law, much like entertainment itself, is a diverse field and encompasses intellectual property matters, such as licensing, trademarks, and copyrights, as well as contracts, employment law, tax law, and even criminal law.
Entertainment law is divided into two broad categories: litigation and contract based practice.
Fortunately, the attorneys at Albuquerque Business Law can help you with both.
Contract Based Entertainment Law
The entertainment industry runs on contracts. Whether you’re ensuring that a big name actor will appear in your film or making sure that you’ve got exclusive rights to an especially catchy commercial jingle the name of the game is contracts, and these contracts can get complex.
A perfect example of the importance of these contractual agreements is option contracts in the film industry. Option contracts are how studios and producers buy the rights to a story or screenplay. The specific terms of how long the studio owns the story and what elements of the story the creator retains control over have to be carefully negotiated and can make or break a business relationship. For example, when George Lucas made Star Wars in 1977, the studios were skittish about committing resources on what they saw was a dangerous gamble. In order to convince the studios to make the film, Lucas took a drastic pay cut in exchange for the merchandising rights for the movie. The studio, thinking the movie would be a marginal return on their investment at best readily agreed. Star Wars took off and the business of Star Wars merchandising is now worth billions of dollars. You can bet some entertainment attorney is still kicking him or herself over that one. While Star Wars is a large-scale example it highlights the importance of a carefully negotiated contract. The experienced attorneys at Albuquerque Business Law can help you with any option or licensing questions you may have and ensure that you’re not letting money slip through your fingers
Litigation Based Entertainment Law
So, you’re driving along and the radio plays a commercial for cat litter. But the song is one you wrote to sell your own brand of cat litter! What can you do? The answer may be a little bit of litigation. Litigation in entertainment law is how you defend your rights and property, whether it’s copyright or trademark infringement or any other form of taking of intellectual property.
Litigation can also be used to ensure that any contractual obligations owed to you are being met. Say you licensed your cat litter song to competing companies in other geographical regions, but not where you sell your brand. However, you find out they are broadcasting the song in areas that the contract does not allow. Litigation, or the threat of litigation, can ensure that contractual partners are performing to the level that the contract requires.
Litigation can be a powerful tool in ensuring that your property is protected. However, successful litigation, especially in entertainment law and other intellectual property matters, requires an experienced and efficient attorney. The attorneys at Albuquerque Business Law are successful litigators and experienced intellectual property attorneys and can help you protect your property.
Lights, Camera, Multimedia!
When people think of entertainment law they often picture harried lawyers brokering deals to accommodate the bizarre habits of the rich and strange in show business. Like Paul McCartney, a strict vegan, requiring that there be no leather in any furniture in any hotel room or limousine he’s in. Or Van Halen requiring a bowl of M&Ms in every hotel room, with all the brown M&Ms picked out.
Entertainment law, however, consists of much more than bizarre contract riders, it includes music, book publishing, video game development, the theater, and all kinds of visual art.
The Ever-Expanding Scope of Entertainment Law
Technological advancements and the social media explosion greatly expanded the scope of entertainment law, with the introduction of smartphones and services like Netflix and Pandora. The umbrella of intellectual property law has expanded greatly in the past decade and means that many areas of the law, such as the use of small pieces of copyrighted works being used in YouTube videos, are not completely settled. This means that legal action in this field requires experienced guidance by a professional. The attorneys at Albuquerque Business Law can help you with any entertainment law question you may have. Whether you’re financing an independent film, working on publishing a novel, or designing video games, our attorneys can make sure you’re on the right track.