Although the American Bar Association does not recognize entertainment law as a specialized field, entertainment lawyers specialize in the entertainment industry. They negotiate settlements and argue cases for TV and movie producers, companies, directors and actors, as well as individuals and companies in the music and media industries.
Protect Your Reputation
Entertainment lawyers work with all types of entertainers, and sometimes these entertainers are accused of crimes or lied about in the press. In these cases, an entertainment lawyer can sue the offending party to clear your name, as John Branca did with Michael Jackson. A great lawyer may even get you a sizeable settlement or award.
Protect Intellectual Property
Whether you produced the work yourself or collaborated on it with others, a good entertainment attorney will ensure that you are properly credited and paid for your contribution. For example, if you wrote a song or cowrote a movie script, a lawyer would make sure that you retained your intellectual property rights as full owner of the song and partial owner of the script. This would ensure that you are properly paid when others sing your song or produce your script.
Negotiate Your Deals
A primary duty of entertainment lawyers is negotiation. Whether they are negotiating your contracts or negotiating your settlements, you will receive a far better payday if you have a good lawyer on your team than if you were negotiating yourself or with your non-attorney agent. These legal professionals also review other contracts, such as labor, intellectual property and securities contracts, to ensure they are fair and legal.
Litigate Your Cases
Litigation includes arguing your case in a courtroom, with an arbitrator or via settlement conference. Entertainment litigation is complicated and has many unknown nuances. Many of these cases are difficult to prove. However, your attorney understands all these challenges. These individuals prepare and present their best cases for their clients to ensure they are well-protected.
Entertainment attorneys focus on more than entertainment-related legal work. For example, may work on their clients’ tax cases, negotiate nonentertainment business and personal contracts and even look over real estate purchases. They may also direct their clients’ financial investments or help them get sponsorships and grants.
These legal professionals may work in small or large law firms, but they may also be independent. They may also work in an entertainment company, such as a production company. Many of these lawyers are members of the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers or the California Society of Entertainment Lawyers.
If you are in or considering entering the entertainment or sports industry, consider protecting yourself by hiring an entertainment lawyer.