Entertainment Law 101

Dealing with the business aspects of filmmaking, television and music production.
Why in the world would you need an entertainment lawyer? Do you have a rising child star? Do you dream of producing your own feature film? Do you have the next Back to the Future script sitting in the back seat of your car?

Entertainment law deals with the business aspects of filmmaking, television and music production, mainly in the areas of contracts and copyrights. Stars of the screen and airwaves are themselves often familiar with legal action, evident by the many lawsuits claiming unauthorized use of photos in tabloid stories.

Every part of the entertainment food chain — writers, actors, filmmakers and agents — is involved with contracts and agreements, both written and oral. Some of the most common types of contracts are:
  • Artist riders


  • Copyright assignments


  • Royalty agreements


  • Photo and video releases


  • Artist management agreements


  • Artist employment


  • Investor financing for a film


  • Literary submission and sale


  • Distribution agreements

Although standard contracts are available online and in legal reference books, a deal that is more complex, potentially lucrative or binding for a long period of time may be better left in the hands of an expert.

If you're looking for an entertainment lawyer, chances are you want more than just help with a contract. A good one can make key introductions for you and help you navigate a difficult business. Like the industry itself, entertainment law is alluring and extremely competitive.

See these profiles for entertainment lawyers near you.

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