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Entertainment Law: What Is it and Why It’s Important

While the field of law is very broad, there are some specializations regarding the law that can be very specific. For instance, a tax lawyer resolves national and state tax matters, while a litigator fights cases in courts and makes settlement negotiations. On the local, federal, and state levels, new case laws are being written every day. The old ones are being revised, and a lot of cases are being created and trying to be resolved.

Continuing your education isn’t mandatory in the legal field, but if you’re planning to pursue a career path of becoming a lawyer in a specific field, such as an entertainment lawyer, professional development and earning a degree in Masters of Law is important. University of Southern California is one of the universities that offers an entertainment law course.

What is entertainment law?

Entertainment law specifically impacts the entertainment industry. It’s a collection of different types of laws, which are related to the media and entertainment industry. It includes litigation and transaction laws, and also impacts the laws such as state and federal laws, common laws created on the court, and rules created by government agencies.

It’s not just for the talents that are performing in the entertainment industry; it can also be for the production and creation of entertainment content.

The following are the practices in entertainment law:

  1. Litigation – for torts, employment disputes, disagreements, and contract disputes
  2. Contact law – for contract drafts and negotiations
  3. Compliance law – compliance in different regulations in the communication in the entertainment industry
  4. Non-compete agreements – restricts a talent to work for a competing company
  5. Labor and employment – to make sure that staff and talents are following labor and employment laws, which include worker’s compensation, safety regulations, fair hiring practices, and maximum working hours allowed

Other practices involved in this law are about intellectual properties, businesses, taxation, security, and privacy.

What areas of the entertainment industry are covered by entertainment law?

Entertainment law covers different areas of the entertainment industry, which have their own specific policies, rules and regulations, agreements, and others. These include:

  • Film – chain of title issues, talent agreements, copyright issues, and trademarks
  • Multimedia – video game development productions, information technology law, software licensing
  • Music – producer and talent agreements, and music industry negotiations
  • Internet – copyright and trademark policies, and privacy issues
  • Publishing – advertising, author agreements, models
  • Television and radio – broadcast licensing, regulatory issues, and mechanical license
  • Theatre – co-production agreement, rental agreement, performance-oriented issues
  • Visual arts and design – consignment of artwork issues, sculptor’s moral rights, fine arts

Who are practicing entertainment law?

Both transactional and litigation lawyers are practicing entertainment law. However, most lawyers in entertainment law specialize in just one type of practice, since it’s more practical than doing both litigation and transactional law.

They can work as in-house counsel wherein the client is the employer, or as a private attorney who can have individual talents or corporate entities as clients.

Where is entertainment law being practiced?

Most entertainment lawyers can be found in Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York City since these cities provide more jobs to do, and a majority of production studios are operating in these areas.

Entertainment lawyers can still practice outside these cities; however, work can be limited. Unlike in the past, a lot of production in the entertainment industry takes place in minor cities today. Other entertainers, local bands, radio talents, and television talents residing in their city also need entertainment lawyers on their side. Although entertainment lawyers won’t get to practice full-time outside major cities, they can still handle entertainment cases for their litigation and transactional law practice.

The importance of entertainment law

Entertainment lawyers can fill several roles, which depend on what their specialization is and what their clients need. Here are some of their functions, which also show their significance in the industry:  

  • Review legal documents such as licensing agreements, recording agreements, bank loans, appearance release, investments, and sponsorship deals
  • Work on financial agreements
  • Prepare form agreements
  • Facilitate deals in distribution
  • Negotiate and draft contracts
  • Ensure that their clients understand the documents they’re signing
  • Protect clients’ interests
  • Can be liaisons to connect entertainers or talents with networks, venues, agents, and professional associations
  • Can defend their clients regarding their intellectual property rights

Entertainment Law: What Is it and Why It’s ImportantOther than those listed above, they can also assist or give recommendations about their clients’ budgets. They can be helpful in advising their clients about the serious financial and legal consequences of the projects they’ll accept.

Conclusion

Practicing entertainment law can be a fast-paced and challenging career that provides a rewarding and steady job. Lawyers can include entertainment law cases as a part of a wider practice or just focus on entertainment law exclusively. Entertainment law has something to offer, whether you prefer drafting documents, pouring over regulations, or being in the courtroom.

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