Is It Hard To Get Into Entertainment Law?
The entertainment industry exists in a state of economic uncertainty. Entertainment companies continually form, merge, re-form, and dissolve. Furthermore, consumer tastes in artistic products can change quickly, thrusting certain artists or artistic movements to the heights of popularity and reducing others to obscurity. Because of this instability, the entertainment industry relies on complex contracts, which usually are drafted to protect entertainment companies against economic risk (Butler and Holland, 2017).
What Are The Four Sources of Entertainment Law?
Entertainment law can also come into play when negotiating contracts, establishing protections against piracy of artistic works and resolving issues involving copyrights.
Whether a work is published or not, its creator can choose to pursue a copyright. This protection grants the creator the exclusive right to reproduce, display and distribute the work. When an author obtains a copyright, the protection starts on the date that the work was created and extends throughout the author’s life and in most cases for 70 years after the author’s death (Butler and Holland, 2017).
A common example of copyright protection would be the proposed use of all or part of a song in a television commercial. In such an instance, the makers of the commercial would need to get permission from the composer (Henslee and Henslee, 2018).
Contracts in the entertainment industry often involve agency representation, recording industry labels, licensing, proposed endorsement deals, royalties and payment provisions and employment terms, among other issues. In many cases, aspiring actors and actresses run the risk of being exploited by television or motion picture production companies by unreasonable contract provisions. They should therefore have their contracts reviewed by an entertainment law attorney before signing.
Not all people who work in the entertainment industry are in the public eye. The industry employs numerous people behind the scenes. These workers may or may not be paid for their efforts, but most are protected by employment laws that guarantee their rights to pursue better working conditions, organize in bodies such as unions or work independently. In some cases, underage artists are protected by employment laws restricting the kind of tasks they can perform and the hours they can work Butler and Holland, 2017).
Speak to an Experienced Entertainment Law Attorney Today
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified entertainment lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local entertainment attorney to discuss your specific legal situation (Garon, 2021).
What Are The Entertainment Law Examples?
In some entertainment industries, personal service agreements are structured using options. Options give a producer the right to extend an agreement for several time periods. For example, a record company may contract with a musician to provide one album during the first year of the agreement, with an option to extend the contract. After one year, if the record company feels that it would be economically wise to release a second album by the musician, the record company may exercise its option and require the musician to provide the second album. Under option contracts such as this, producers can keep artists on their roster for many years, or as long as the artists remain profitable (Johnson and Johnson, 2022).
Other entertainment industries use short-term personal service agreements rather than option agreements. For example, film studios often contract with actors, directors, screenwriters, and other creative artists on a one-film basis. Short-term agreements allow studios to avoid paying guaranteed fees to artists whose market might dissipate overnight. In the early days of the film industry, studios bound stars to long-term agreements. That system changed in the 1940s, when certain stars demanded fees that were higher than studios were willing to pay. Those stars then demanded, and received, one-film contracts for their services, which became the standard. The television industry, on the other hand, still uses long-term agreements for its talent in many areas (Garon, 2021).
Litigation over personal service agreements is common in the entertainment industry. Often, an artist who is relatively unknown is willing to enter into an agreement that drastically favors the company with which he or she is signing. Once the artist achieves success and sees the profits that the company is making from his or her services, the artist may demand higher fees or royalties, or to be released from the contract. Conflicts such as this often end up in court, where companies often demand that the court order that the artist not perform for anyone else while the contract is in dispute. (This type of order is known as a negative injunction.) Whether the contract will be enforced and the artist required to perform under the agreement is usually determined by whether the contract meets certain legal requirements based on the state laws that govern it (Johnson and Johnson, 2022).