Entertainment law

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Entertainment law, also referred to as media law is legal services provided to the entertainment industry. These services in entertainment law overlap with intellectual property law. Intellectual property has many moving parts that include trademarks, copyright, and the "Right of Publicity". However, the practice of entertainment law often involves questions of employment law, contract law, torts, labor law, bankruptcy law, immigration, securities law, security interests, agency, right of privacy, defamation, advertising, criminal law, tax law, International law (especially Private international law), and insurance law.

Trademark recognizable sign, design or expression which identifies products or services

A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks. The trademark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity. A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher, or on the product itself. For the sake of corporate identity, trademarks are often displayed on company buildings.

Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. This is usually only for a limited time. Copyright is one of two types of intellectual property rights, the other is industrial property rights. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves.

Legal practice is sometimes used to distinguish the body of judicial or administrative precedents, rules, policies, customs, and doctrines from legislative enactments such as statutes and constitutions which might be called "laws" in the strict sense of being commands to the general public, rather than only to a set of parties.


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.

Arbitration technique for the resolution of disputes

Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a way to resolve disputes outside the courts. The dispute will be decided by one or more persons, which renders the "arbitration award". An arbitration award is legally binding on both sides and enforceable in the courts.


Entertainment law covers an area of law which involves media of all different types (TV, film, music, publishing, advertising, Internet & news media, etc.), and stretches over various legal fields, which include corporate, finance, intellectual property, publicity and privacy, and, in the United States, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. Intellectual property encompasses two types of rights; industrial property rights and copyright. It was not until the 19th century that the term "intellectual property" began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world.


Publicity is the movement of information to the general public from the media. The subjects of publicity includes people, goods and services, organizations, and works of art or entertainment.

Privacy the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves

Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively. The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share common themes. When something is private to a person, it usually means that something is inherently special or sensitive to them. The domain of privacy partially overlaps with security (confidentiality), which can include the concepts of appropriate use, as well as protection of information. Privacy may also take the form of bodily integrity.

For film, entertainment attorneys work with the actor's agent to finalize the actor's contracts for upcoming projects. After an agent lines up work for a star, the entertainment attorney negotiates with the agent and buyer of the actor's talent for compensation and profit participation. Entertainment attorneys are under strict confidentiality agreements, so the specifics of their job are kept top secret. But, some entertainment attorney's job descriptions have become comparable to those of a star's agent, manager or publicist. Most entertainment attorneys have many other roles as well such as assisting in building a client's career. [1]

A talent manager is an individual or company who guides the professional career of artists in the entertainment industry. The responsibility of the talent manager is to oversee the day-to-day business affairs of an artist; advise and counsel talent concerning professional matters, long-term plans and personal decisions which may affect their career.

A publicist is a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a company, a brand, or public figure- especially a celebrity- or for a work such as a book, film or album. Publicists are public relations specialists who have the role to maintain and represent the images of individuals, rather than representing an entire corporation or business.


As the popularity of media became widespread, the field of media law became more popular and needed leaving certain corporate professionals wanting to participate more 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. As technology continues to make huge advancements, many lawsuits have begun to arise which makes the demand for lawyers extremely necessary.

The mass media is a diversified collection of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets.


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:

Custom in law is the established pattern of behavior that can be objectively verified within a particular social setting. A claim can be carried out in defense of "what has always been done and accepted by law". Related is the idea of prescription; a right enjoyed through long custom rather than positive law.

Case law is a set of past rulings by tribunals that meet their respective jurisdictions' rules to be cited as precedent. These interpretations are distinguished from statutory law, which are the statutes and codes enacted by legislative bodies, and regulatory law, which are regulations established by executive agencies based on statutes. The term "case law" is applied to any set of previous rulings by an adjudicatory tribunal that guides future rulings; for example, patent office case law.

-In an 8-0 choice, the Supreme Court held that in light of the fact that the FCC rules at the time did not cover "short lived exclamations," the fines issued against Fox were unethical and subsequently discredited as "illegally unclear". [2]

-Copyright: Golan v. Holder, No. 10-545 In a 6-2 vote, the judges dismissed contentions in light of the First Amendment and the Constitution's copyright provision, stating that the general population was not "a class of sacred centrality" and that copyright insurances may be extended regardless of whether they did not strive for new attempts to be made. [3]

- Internet applications include, but are not limited to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Snapchat, etc.; [4]

Defamation (libel and slander), personality rights and privacy rights issues also arise in entertainment law.


-Contract Law is an arrangement of principles that represents the legitimacy of an understanding between at least two people, organizations, entities, etc. Contract Laws have been at the forefront of Entertainment with leading world-wide known cases. One of those cases deals with Singer/Songwriter, Kesha.

-Kesha v. Dr. Luke – In 2014, singer Kesha filed a civil suit against music producer Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, also referred to some as Dr. Luke for gender-based hate crimes and emotional distress. This civil suit caused Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald to in return sue Kesha for defamation and breach of contract. This case ended with a judge declining to release Kesha from her binding contract that prohibited her from continuing her career effectively. The judge took note that Kesha had entered an agreement after she had sworn under oath that no harassment was taking place. Many celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Demi Lovato have shown support for Kesha in an attempt to broadcast the injustice contract laws have played in the outcome of this case. Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to relieve Kesha of any financial obligations. [5]

-Katie Armiger – In 2016, singer/songwriter Katie Armiger claimed that a handful of DJs’ at radio stations across the United States harassed her during her radio tour while her record label, Cold River Records justified it by telling her that radio programmers are her ticket to fame. Cold River Records caused defamation and false light against Armigers’ character when they challenged her in a court case that played out in the public eye. Cold River Records held Armiger hostage in a lengthy prosecution that forbid her to release new music or perform live by strictly enforcing the terms and legality of her record contract. Because of this, Armiger lost countless fans with her lack of presence on social media and most likely lost credibility as well by not giving her fans an explanation. There is no law created for instances like this where an artist is unable to breach their contract immediately when harassment is involved. Libel per quod can be applied to this case by showing that Armiger’s statements show plenty of proof and negligence on not only Cold Rivers’ behalf but the DJs’ behalf as well. In the end, Armigers’ character was defamed and a false light was shone upon her when Cold River Records’ head Pete O’Heeron claimed that Armigers’ suit was baseless. Defamation, false light and contract laws have played a significant role in Katie Armigers’ reality through her pursuit to breach her contract with Cold River Records. [6]

Media law is a legal field that refers to the following:

See also

Related Research Articles

Non-disclosure agreement contractual agreement not to disclose specified information

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA) or secrecy agreement (SA), is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. The most common forms of these are in doctor–patient confidentiality, attorney–client privilege, priest–penitent privilege, and bank–client confidentiality agreements.

A chain of title is the sequence of historical transfers of title to a property. It is a valuable tool to identify and document past owners of a property and serves as a property’s historical ownership timeline. The "chain" runs from the present owner back to the original owner of the property. In situations where documentation of ownership is important, it is often necessary to reconstruct the chain of title. To facilitate this, a record of title documents may be maintained by a registry office or civil law notary.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to commercial law:

A royalty is a payment made by one party, the licensee or franchisee to another that owns a particular asset, the licensor or franchisor for the right to ongoing use of that asset. Royalties are typically agreed upon as a percentage of gross or net revenues derived from the use of an asset or a fixed price per unit sold of an item of such, but there are also other modes and metrics of compensation. A royalty interest is the right to collect a stream of future royalty payments.

A cease and desist letter is a document sent to an individual or business to stop purportedly illegal activity ("cease") and not to restart it ("desist"). The letter may warn that if the recipient does not discontinue specified conduct, or take certain actions, by deadlines set in the letter, that party may be sued. When issued by a public authority, a cease and desist letter, being "a warning of impending judicial enforcement", is most appropriately called a "cease and desist order".

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), formed in 1984, is a private sector coalition of seven trade associations representing U.S. companies that produce copyright-protected material, including computer software, films, television programs, music, books, and journals. It seeks to strengthen international copyright protection and enforcement by working with the U.S. government, foreign governments, and private-sector representatives.

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) have been acknowledged and protected in the People's Republic of China since the 1980s. The People's Republic of China has acceded to the major international conventions on protection of rights to intellectual property. Domestically, protection of intellectual property law has also been established by government legislation, administrative regulations, and decrees in the areas of trademark, copyright, and patent. This has led to the creation of a comprehensive legal framework to protect both local and foreign intellectual property. Despite this, copyright violations are common in the PRC, The American Chamber of Commerce in China surveyed over 500 of its members doing business in China regarding IPR for its 2016 China Business Climate Survey Report, and found that IPR enforcement is improving, but significant challenges still remain. The results show that the laws in place exceed their actual enforcement, with patent protection receiving the highest approval rate, while protection of trade secrets lags far behind.

Dr. Luke American music producer

Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, known professionally as Dr. Luke, is an American record producer, songwriter and singer. His professional music career began in the late night television sketch comedy Saturday Night Live as its house band's lead guitarist in 1997 and producing remixes for artists such as Bon Jovi and Gravediggaz. He came into music prominence in 2004 for producing Kelly Clarkson's single "Since U Been Gone" with Swedish record producer Max Martin.

Film rights are rights under copyright law to produce a film as a derivative work of a given item of intellectual property. In US law, these rights belong to the holder of the copyright, who may sell them to someone in the film industry—usually a producer or director, or sometimes a specialist broker of such properties—who will then try to gather industry professionals and secure the financial backing necessary to convert the property into a film. Such rights differ from the right to commercially exhibit a finished motion picture, which rights are usually referred to as "exhibition rights" or "public-performance rights".

Stan Lee Media company

Stan Lee Media (SLM) was an Internet-based creation, production and marketing company that was founded in 1998, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2000, and ultimately dismissed from bankruptcy in November 2006. In its early years, the company created Stan Lee branded super hero franchises for applications in all media. Its 165-man animation production studio was based in Los Angeles from 1998–2001. It won the 2000 Web Award for the best Entertainment Portal on the World Wide Web, but the company failed in the same year and the corporate shell has been involved in numerous lawsuits in the years since. The company has been characterized as "a sleazy Internet start-up that could function as the poster child for the excesses of the turn-of-the-century era." Stan Lee himself cut ties with the company long before his death.

Carole Enid Handler is an American lawyer who specializes in intellectual property litigation in the areas of trademark, copyright and antitrust laws, particularly those related to entertainment and media industry. She is commonly known as the "lawyer who saved Spiderman."

Mark Avsec is an American rock keyboardist / songwriter / producer, and more recently copyright lawyer, who is best known for being a member of Wild Cherry, and also Donnie Iris & the Cruisers since 1979. Avsec co-founded this band, wrote or co-wrote all of the band's music, was its sole lyricist, and produced all of its albums.

The copyright law of Australia defines the legally enforceable rights of creators of creative and artistic works under Australian law. The scope of copyright in Australia is defined in the Australian Copyright Act 1968, which applies the national law throughout Australia. Designs may be covered by the Copyright Act as well as by the Design Act. Since 2007, performers have moral rights in recordings of their work.

Copyright infringement

Copyright infringement is the use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work's creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.

Keith Fink American lawyer

Keith Allen Fink is an American attorney and legal commentator. Fink is known for his involvement in many high profile legal cases and his aggressiveness as a litigator. He has represented a series of celebrity clients including Courtney Love, Dita Von Teese and Stephen Bier ("Pogo"). His most notable cases include defeating Rodney King's malpractice lawsuit against his lawyers stemming from the LAPD excessive force verdict, and as counsel for a Pasadena business who got in a contract dispute with Ellen DeGeneres dubbed by the media as "Iggygate".

Marc Randazza American writer

Marc J. Randazza is a First Amendment attorney, and a commentator on Infowars and Fox News on legal matters.

Kevin Jerome Greene is an American professor of contract music law and entertainment law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California. Professor Greene was the first legal scholar to examine the treatment of African-American art forms, such as the blues, under intellectual property law.

Mark Fischer (attorney) American legal writer

Mark Alan Fischer was a Boston-based intellectual property and copyright lawyer, speaker, and co-author of the fourth edition of Perle, Williams & Fischer on Publishing Law with E. Gabriel Perle and John Taylor Williams. He was a partner at Duane Morris LLP. Fischer represented corporate and private clients with interests in entertainment law, copyright litigation, and social media law. He helped draft the Biobricks Foundation Public Agreement, which allows scientists to make their biotechnology tools available to the public.

<i>Kesha v. Dr. Luke</i>

Kesha v. Dr. Luke refers to what was a New York Supreme Court lawsuit in which music producer Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, AKA Dr. Luke, sued singer Kesha Rose Sebert and her mother, Rosemary Patricia "Pebe" Sebert, for defamation and breach of contract. This was a result of Kesha filing a civil suit against Dr. Luke in October 2014 for infliction of emotional distress, gender-based hate crimes and employment discrimination. This New York lawsuit resulted in the staying of a California lawsuit where Kesha claimed Dr. Luke was guilty of sexual harassment, gender violence, civil harassment, violation of California's unfair business laws, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent retention and supervision. In her New York counter-claim Kesha alleges that Dr. Luke "sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally" abused her since the beginning of their professional relationship. The suit alleged he drugged and raped her on two occasions, made threats against Kesha and her family, and called her derogatory names.

Jeffrey E. Jacobson. Jacobson is a member of the Bars of the State of New York and District of Columbia. He is a notable lawyer within the entertainment and intellectual property fields.


  1. Wasko, Janet (2008). Hollywood Film Industry. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 176–178.
  2. "Top 5 Media & Entertainment Cases Of 2012 - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  3. "Top 5 Media & Entertainment Cases Of 2012 - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  4. "Top 5 Media & Entertainment Cases Of 2012 - Law360". www.law360.com. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  5. Swenson, Kyle (2017-12-13). "A singer spoke up about sexual harassment in country music. Now she's being sued". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  6. Swenson, Kyle (2017-12-13). "A singer spoke up about sexual harassment in country music. Now she's being sued". Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved 2018-04-23.